Finding the Words to Say

Today I’ve been dealing with a bit of writer’s block. I’m not talking about the writer’s block where I can’t think about what to write, but rather about the challenge of communicating that topic in a way that doesn’t sound like I typed a bunch of words and called it done, but makes sense and someone could apply to their life or benefit from. You may not experience this when writing, it may be something that you struggle with when you’re dealing with your significant other and trying to navigate a challenging topic or when your boss comes in to talk about a serious topic or issue.

One of the reasons I love writing is because I can use that little delete or backspace key to make changes without anyone knowing what I said. We don’t have that luxury when we’re talking with someone, once it comes out of our mouth we can’t take it back, we can only try to explain what we meant to say (or apologize for what we did say). There’s absolutely a place for honesty and just saying what’s on your heart, but often we need to use a little more thoughtfulness in our communications.

Part of the answer is practice, because the more you do something the better you get at it. Another part of the answer is listening and asking for clarification, because the more you can get from the other person or persons involved, the better contribution you can make when it’s your turn to speak. But I think there’s also value in time and hearing things out and then taking time before you provide an answer or share your feelings or share your suggestions. Sometimes the best thing you can do is not respond in the moment but rather come back around a little while later when tempers cool or you’ve had time to get over your reaction to whatever was said (or sent virtually). Sometimes you need that break to let your thoughts percolate a little before constructing a response.

In this often instant world it can be challenging for us to admit that we need time to think, especially when it doesn’t seem like we have time. But there is definitely a trend towards quality over quantity in many areas of life, so maybe you’ll actually gain some respect, not to mention do better work, if you take a little time and ask a few more questions before opening your mouth or typing away.

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