Please consider this:
People may not remember what you said, or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
You may have heard that before, but when you really think about it, you will realise that you actually have great power and responsibility in each of your day to day interactions.
Whether it is a business or social conversation, by thinking about what you say, and how you deliver the message, you have the power to make a great connection.
You have the power to contribute something meaningful, and you also have the power to be hurtful.
Always use your power for good and speak with a kind heart.
Here are my 8 key tips to do just that:-
1. Speak Thoughtfully
While your words may not be remembered years later, choose them carefully.
If the saying “you are only as good as your word” is true, than it only makes sense to speak good words, or words that reflect who you really are.
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” – Buddha
2. Speak Kindly
Being kind doesn’t mean that you can’t make your point. Being kind doesn’t mean that you can’t be direct. Being kind will show that you care, regardless of the message.
By sharing your compassion, you might change how someone feels about themselves or a situation.
If you are only thinking about what you are going to say next, you are missing half of the conversation!
If you ask a question, wait patiently for the answer. Even 10 seconds of no talking can seem like an eternity.
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain
We often like to fill up empty space, especially quiet, empty space, but don’t be afraid of silence.
Sometimes, it is in that quietness that the really good stuff starts to happen.
4. Reserve Judgement
Before you enter a conversation, especially with someone you don’t know very well, it is easy to make a snap judgement.
Before words even come out of their mouth, you have likely formed an opinion.
This may be because of the way they are dressed, a look you thought they gave you, or a story you heard about them.
Make a point to let that go, so you can really hear what they are saying. Do what you need to do to think of them in a loving way.
It might help to think about their family. Are they a father? A daughter? Who loves them?
Giving 30 seconds to think this through will really humanise the conversation.
If you consciously think about the fact that they are in this world, trying to make a great life, just like you, then you will be more invested in the interaction.
5. Be honest
Speak with integrity and tell the truth. If the truth hurts, be compassionate, but be honest.
This goes especially for business conversations. It’s natural to want to be nice instead of honest, especially if someone is trying to sell you something you don’t need or want. Your honesty will save everyone time.
This is especially important in more serious conversations, for instance, breaking up business or personal relationships, when you say (in so many words), “You are not for me”.
Remember you aren’t saying, “You are not for anyone.”
It is important to get that message across. Just because a person, business, or product is not right for you, doesn’t mean that they are not perfect for someone else.
Don’t say everything - some things really are better left unsaid.
6. Consider another opinion
Make sure your argument isn’t about being right. Perhaps there is an option or opinion that really is better than yours.
This doesn’t make your opinion less valid, and your openness to a new idea, will likely turn into a new opportunity.
7. Don’t yell
Once you raise your voice, your words become irrelevant.
Once you yell, you are talking at someone, not with them. When you yell, the only thing someone else is thinking is, “I can’t believe they are yelling.” or “What a jerk.” or some variation of that.
When you yell, you lose control and make the conversation about something completely different.
Instead, when you feel like yelling, lower your voice. Speak softly. You will likely get the point across in a more profound way.
If speaking softly doesn’t work for you, be quiet. Collect your thoughts, take a deep breath, walk away or do something that will distract you from yelling.
8. Say thank you
There is always time before, during and after a conversation to say thank you.
Thank you for meeting me here. Thank you for bringing that up. Thank you for taking the time to talk. Thanks for the inspiration.
If nothing else, a simple, thanks for your time applies every time.
The way forward – always walk and talk with a kind heart
Conversations happen all the time, but they don’t always happen with a kind heart.
“Always aim at complete harmony of thought and word and deed. Always aim at purifying your thoughts and everything will be well.” – Gandhi
If you approach every conversation as an opportunity to learn something new and to treat someone with respect, instead of as a time to speak your mind, your message will be heard, loud and clear.
You will be trusted and more importantly, you really will be as good as your word.
Courtney is a writer and fine art photographer. She writes about simplifying and living life on purpose at Be More with Less. You can also follow her on Twitter.
Image courtesy of Moriza