- Why do we communicate what is untrue?
- Before you shoot off a snippy text or email, use the decision tree above
- This methodology was developed by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs (NYT Bestselling Author of Love & Respect).
- This guide is a brief summary of his excellent book, “Before I Hit Send.”
Is it True?
- Is it true, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?
- There are three ways to lie:
- Give information that is not true.
- Only give part of the truth, leaving important details out to warp context and meaning.
- Give the whole truth mixed in with lies to confuse fact from fiction.
- Why do people lie? Even though we’re all taught as children that lying is wrong, it’s rampant today. Dr. Eggerichs identifies types of liars – do you recognize any of them in yourself?
Is it Kind?
- People hear your words of truth, but they feel your words of kindness.
- Kindness has to do with who we are as people. We are caring and honorable people who deliver the uncompromising truth in a loving and respectful manner.
- Truth is not advanced by being mean-spirited, hateful, and rude. Being nasty and uncharitable does not guard the truth but discredits the truth.
- If the other feels attacked as a person, ongoing communication will be very difficult. When attacked, we put up walls and close off our spirit. We may be present, but we are so guarded that we don’t really listen.
- A benign email can be turned into a nuclear option with a snippy sentence. Just like .5 grams of cyanide can kill, losing your temper can kill any opportunity for resolution.
- Kindness eases others, which enables them to hear the substance of our concern.
- Ask yourself:
- Am I addressing the issue or attacking the person?
- Do you assume he or she has goodwill and is trustworthy until you know for a fact that the person is untrustworthy and lacks goodwill?
- Do you seek to remain positive and affirming while addressing the concerns on the table?
Is it Necessary?
- Since we do not enjoy people who exhaustingly talk on and on, tell things about us to others who have no right to know, rehash the same episode about us without ever forgiving and forgetting, feel a compulsive obsession to fill in the silence with the sound of their voices, and keep dumping judgmental information on us that floods us emotionally, then why would we dare speak this way to others?
- Since we do not enjoy people who explode with anger to make themselves feel better and attempt to change us, bellyache about their unfulfilled carnal dreams, grab the attention in conversations because they find us boring, and spew out their inflated woes to anyone lending half an ear, then why would we communicate this way?
- Since we do not enjoy people who constantly police our activities to catch us, confront, and control our mistakes, ask too many questions that invade our privacy and feed their selfish curiosity to know, sidestep our honest questions to evade addressing what is the essential issue, and bring up stuff that is unfitting and distasteful, then why would we do such things?
- Since we do not enjoy people who have an uncanny ability to habitually say the right thing at the wrong time, start talking before they have grasped the real concern on our hearts, mouth motherly platitudes that make us feel like toddlers, interrupt us when we are thoughtfully engaged with another person, and feel a divine call to lecture us like a bald-headed man selling hair restoration oil, then why would we express ourselves this way?
- Ask yourself:
- Are you providing too much information that may overwhelm or cause the recipient to tune out?
- Are you reacting in anger?
- Are you cornering or catching the recipient off-guard?
- Are you providing or requesting information that invades the privacy of another?
- Are you just venting or complaining?
- Are you just filling the silence?
- Is the timing and channel appropriate?
- If you answer is “yes” to any of the above questions, do not send!
Is it Clear?
- We can and must be clear based on the different audiences with whom we communicate.
- Words need to be well thought out and clear. For example, when we are on the receiving end of a communication, we cannot look into the eyes of an email and see that it’s joking. We cannot hear the innocent tone in a tweet. And Facebook doesn’t yet have an automatic reply of “No, wait. That’s not how I meant it!” as soon as a reader interprets a post or comment the wrong way.
- Oftentimes, others’ perceptions behind our communications are just as important as our intentions behind what we were sharing. Though we may have spoken truthfully, with kindness and respect, and at the necessary time, if the communication is not perceived in the way we intended, then we must ask ourselves if we were as clear as we could have been.
- Just because we are well meaning is no reason to believe others will know our meaning.
- Ask yourself:
- Is the recipient on the same page as me? Am I assuming they know something they don’t?
- Is this short, sweet, and to the point?
- Is there a clearer way of expressing this?
- What will this person hear when I say it this way?