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THINK before You Speak

Person thinking

I grew up being taught this saying, didn’t you? The unfortunate part is that I don’t think as quickly “on my feet” as I would like. Oh, how I wish that I were one of those people who can come back with a witty reply at those times that would be so appropriate. I’d love to be better at breaking the tension of the moment, lightening the mood, or politely putting that person in place. I do come up with a good comment, but it seems like only in rare moments. Then there are those times that I really want to make what I know to be the wrong comment, only my ego is getting in the way. How can I emotionally stop myself and rationally contradict my mind’s intent? Well, I found a method that, as I practice it, is helping me to control my thinking (i.e., the first person we need to lead is ourselves). The acronym is THINK. I got this idea from my mentor, John Maxwell. He teaches it in his book Winning with People. While I am not perfect at this, I do remember it often and continually work to put it into practice. The other day I heard someone say something not so kind to another person. I cringed, and I was once again reminded of thinking before we speak:

T – True H – Helpful I – Inspirational N – Necessary K – Kind

Is my statement True? Another thing I was taught growing up—we should not say things that are not true.

Is my statement Helpful? This helps me understand that even negative comments can be shared, albeit much more carefully, and with the proper intentions.

Is it Inspirational? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all said things that were more positive (and less derogatory and/or negative), and encouraging?

Is it Necessary? If something doesn’t need to be shared, then do not share it. This also helps to be appropriate in the face of someone else’s inappropriate actions or words. We should recognize that we do not have to attend every argument that we are invited to. We choose our own action and response.

Is it Kind? If our words are not kind, whether they are true or not, they should not be shared.

THINK before you speak.

Want more inspiration? Consider joining Leadership Harbor for a mastermind group on Winning with People. New groups form often—check out our events page to find out when the next group begins!

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