How To Think Before You Speak: Use These Smart 13 Strategies

In this new article you’ll learn how to think before you speak.

Thinking before speaking is an important skill to develop in a variety of situations. It can help you strengthen interpersonal interactions and express yourself more effectively.

Start by determining whether what you are saying is true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind, using the acronym THINK. Then look for ways to make your comments more thoughtful, such as stopping and asking for clarification.

You can also think before you speak, using thoughtful communication techniques such as body language and focusing on one topic at a time. With a little practice, thinking before speaking will become second nature to you.

How To Think Before You Speak:

1. Determine if what you want to say is true or not.

Think about what you want to say and whether it is true. Don’t make up anything just to have something to say, and don’t say anything if you intend to lie. If you must respond, at least change what you are going to say so that it is truthful.

For example, if someone asks, “How are you?”, refrain from giving an answer that is not truthful. Instead, express the truth.

If, on the other hand, you are going to embellish your statement by telling someone how well you did in the interview, refrain and be honest about your assessment.

2. Speak up if it is helpful, or keep quiet if it is not

Speaking out can benefit other people if you have something to say that might be helpful to them, so if that’s the case, speak up boldly. On the other hand, saying something stupid can damage your interactions with others, so if you’re thinking of saying something nasty to someone, it’s better to keep your mouth shut.

For example, if you’re observing a colleague working on an important project and you have a tip that would help him or her get through a particularly difficult phase, feel free to share it.

Don’t say anything if you’re watching a colleague struggle to overcome another challenge on a task and you’re going to make fun of him or her for it.

Remember that saying something cruel is not the same as sharing the unpleasant reality that you are going to help someone. For example, if you offer constructive criticism to someone, it can be beneficial.

3. Determine whether your speech has the potential to inspire others.

It’s always good to say something that will inspire, motivate, or uplift others. If you’re going to praise someone, encourage them to pursue a goal, or tell a story that inspires them, do it!

For example, if you are ready to praise a colleague for their presentation, do it. It will make them feel more comfortable in their own skin.

4. Speak up if you feel it is necessary.

Sometimes it is necessary to speak up to prevent something awful from happening, such as giving a warning or conveying an important message. In that case, you should speak up. However, if what you want to say is not required, say nothing.

For example, if someone is about to cross in front of an oncoming vehicle, respond immediately to warn them.

SEE ALSO: How To Improve Verbal Communication Skills: 14 Excellent Ways

5. If you don’t want to say something that isn’t kind, don’t say it.

Another effective way to test whether you should speak up is to tell someone something kind. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all.” Think about whether what you want to say is nice. If it is, then say it. If you’re not sure, don’t say anything.

For example, if your partner comes to you in a glamorous outfit, praise him or her for the fashionable outfit if you think it looks good, or keep quiet if you don’t like it.

6. If you are having a discussion with someone, pay attention to what that person is saying.

When someone else is talking, pay attention to what they are saying. When the other person is finished speaking, focusing your attention on their words can help you respond more thoughtfully.

Give someone your full attention (1) if he or she is talking about his or her weekend so that you can ask questions and make honest comments about what he or she has said.

When the other person is talking, don’t focus on what you want to say next. If you do, you won’t really be listening to her, and you may even respond with something unrelated to what she just said.

7. If you catch yourself saying “um” or “uh,” take a moment to think.

If you find yourself saying “um” or “uh” a lot, you’re probably running out of words and thinking out loud. In this situation, close your mouth and think for a moment. Before you proceed, take a moment to think about what you want to say.

If someone asks you a question, simply answer, “I need to think for a moment.”

8. Ask a question to clarify what the other person just said.

If you are having a discussion with someone and you are not sure how to respond to what they just said, ask them to clarify. Make sure you understand what the person just said or the question they asked.

For example, you might ask, “What did you mean when you said you didn’t like the presentation?”

This strategy can also be used to gain some thinking time.

9. Take a few deep breaths in difficult situations.

Taking a few deep breaths can help you calm down, gather your thoughts, and give yourself more time to think, whether you’re in the middle of an argument or heated discussion with someone, or you’re just afraid to speak. Slowly inhale through your nose up to four times, and then hold for four seconds before slowly exhaling through your mouth up to four times.

If you need a longer break to relax, go to the restroom or take a short walk.

SEE ALSO: How To Toughen Up Emotionally: 17 Mental Hacks

10. Avoid distractions and keep your attention on the task at hand.

If you’re not constantly staring at your phone, TV, or computer, it will be easier to think before you speak. Put aside or turn off anything that might distract you from the speaker and give your full attention to the conversation.

It is acceptable to take a break to clear your mind. Say something like, “Please wait a moment. I just want to turn off my phone so I can focus completely on you. “

11. Use open body language to show that you are paying attention.

Adopting open body language (2) can help you communicate more thoughtfully with others. When you talk to other people, pay attention to how you sit or stand. You can improve your body language by doing the following:

Instead of leaning away from your interlocutor, face him or her.

Instead of crossing your arms over your chest, keep them relaxed and at your sides.

Make direct eye contact with your interlocutor. Avoid looking away or looking around the room, as this signals that you are not paying attention to the interlocutor.

Maintain a neutral appearance with small details like a slight smile and relaxed eyebrows.

12. Focus on one issue and provide additional information only when necessary.

If you tend to gawk or dump a lot of information on the other person at once, try to focus on one point and back it up with an example if necessary. Then wait a moment for the other person to respond or ask questions, and make another point or provide further information if necessary.

For example, if someone asks you about your day, you might start by saying it was great and listing one positive thing that happened rather than describing your day in detail.

If you are having a political argument with someone, instead of giving all the reasons why you believe what you believe, you might start by stating your best claim and the evidence to support it.

13. If necessary, summarize what you have said and then remain silent.

It is acceptable to stop the conversation after you have finished speaking and said what you wanted to say. If you have nothing more to say, there is no need to fill the silence with additional words. If you feel the need to summarize, briefly summarize what you just said and then end the conversation.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my article about how to think before you speak. I sincerely hope its contents have been a good help to you.

Przemkas Mosky
Przemkas Mosky started Perfect 24 Hours in 2017. He is a Personal Productivity Specialist, blogger and entrepreneur. He also works as a coach assisting people to increase their motivation, social skills or leadership abilities. Read more here