Cure ‘say-stupid-things disease’

How to keep your foot out of your mouth

by on
in Office Management,Workplace Communication

All the talent and ability in the world won’t help if your mouth works against you.

Monitor your comments, especially if your co-workers show surprise or take offense. Then take these steps:

Never overreact. When you hear something that upsets you, don’t rush to exclaim “That’s insane!” or “What bull!” You’ll insult others or lead them to doubt your maturity.

Stay away from me-me-me. A colleague opens up about a problem he faces. Rather than listen, you jump in to discuss your problems or brag about your skill at avoiding them.

The greatest gift you can give someone who expresses sincere feelings is to sit still and pay attention, even if it makes you uncomfortable. The bonding and trust will more than compensate you for your time.

Be discreet. If you love to talk, you might say too much. Stop before you’re tempted to reveal secrets or discuss delicate or proprietary information. Ask yourself, “What does this person need to know about this, if anything?” That sets your boundary.

Don’t speculate. If asked for your opinion, state it concisely and prepare to back it up with evidence. Don’t say more than you know.

Apply this test: If you’re about to talk about someone behind her back, imagine she’s present. Then make sure you would deliver the same message to her face.

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