Thursday, September 4, 2014

Quote-A-Day: Day 248

It isn't just the words you say, but how you say them, that makes all the difference. #QuoteADay #Day248 #edchat #edu #ASCDL2L

Sure, the words we say are important, but often, it is how we say them that truly makes a difference for people.  Here’s a quick example.

This morning, as my wife and I were leaving for work, my wife pulled me aside and said, “You better run in and get something for Sydney to sleep with.”  I was taking the girls to daycare today, and our oldest likes to bring a “friend” to nap with.  So, I turned to Sydney and said, “Hey Syd, who do you want to bring to nap with today?”  Sydney then responded that she wanted to bring “bear.”

Now, time out.  Sydney has two different stuffed bears that she loves.  One is called, “Bear.”  The other is called, “Bearie.”  If I bring the wrong one, it is going to be a problem, likely.  So, I say, “Sydney, I’ll go and get your bear.  But, do you want to bring ‘Bear’ or ‘Bearie?’”  She looks at me and says, “Bearie please, Daddy.”

“Bear” is a very simple word.  We get what it means and what it should represent.  The problem is that to others, “bear” may mean different things, and in the case of my daughter, “bear” can represent either of two very different stuffed animals.

Part of “saying the right thing” is understanding that the words we choose and how we express them makes a big difference, and as such, we always need to be thinking about what we are going to say (and how) a turn before we actually say it.  So, when I asked my daughter which friend she wanted to bring to school, I was already thinking about potential questions to clarify her response to make sure we were both on the same page.

Having a conversation while you’re also thinking ahead to the conversation in the future isn’t easy, but it is necessary if we hope to share information in a way that makes a difference for people.  It also allows us to “preflect,” which is the idea that we should be thinking about what happens (or what could happen) even before it does.

Remember that our words are important, but how they come across means just as much (if not more).  So, make sure you always think before you speak, both for the words you say and how you say them.

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