Who is “out there” talking about you more than anyone else?
• Is it someone involved in your work or personal life?
• Is it a friend or foe or someone you don’t even know?
Is the individual speaking well of you or not?
Aside from a few exceptions, without knowing anything about you, I can identify the one person who is revealing more about you than any other individual on the planet.
Who might that be?
The one who is communicating the most about you is … drumroll … you!
How could any amount of praise or vilification coming from any other source divulge as much as about you as each and every, single thing you say about yourself?
Consider the following:
1. How you speak to others
- Would your manner of speaking leave the impression that you are respectful, thoughtful, passive-aggressive, or haughty?
- Do you take care when using certain vocabulary, including technical language and industry jargon, ensuring all who are part of the discussion would understand the meaning?
- Do you monopolize most conversations or graciously give others a proportionate amount of time to speak while you actively listen?
2. What you say to others
- Are you meticulous about making sure people know when you’re stating your opinions versus relaying what you know to be verified facts?
- Do you offer only appropriate criticisms and compliments?
- Do you admit when you’re wrong and when you don’t know?
3. What you say about others
- Do you take part in idle gossip?
- Do you keep confidential information involving other people to yourself?
- Do you avoid mentioning certain individuals and groups in conversation to prevent others from speaking negatively about them?
4. Your methods of communicating
- Do you send text messages after hours to people you’ve never met or barely gotten to know to solicit business?
- Do you take time to send handwritten notes to people who deserve your thanks?
- Do you look people in their eyes when you’re having a conversation?
5. How your words support your actions
The last point could certainly fall under “what you say to others,” but let’s assume that actions matter more than any words. Mark Twain, one of my favorite authors, phrased the sentiment this way:
“Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often.”
In other words, talk is cheap. Indeed, words often seem meaningless, such as when a person expresses a desire to help with a job but merely sits by watching while you do all the work.
That said, even someone’s “meaningless” words are valuable to the recipient or observer. A person’s direct communication—including an empty promise or downright falsehood—can be helpful in assessing the individual’s character and determining, perhaps, reliability or trustworthiness for an assignment.
All the more significant is your ability to contemplate your own words and exercise your personal power in telling the world all about who you are and aspire to be.
Therefore, be careful. One way or another, you’re always talking about yourself!
My best to you,
Sallie W. Boyles, a.k.a. Write Lady
Thoughts or questions? Please contact Sallie Boyles, owner of Write Lady Inc., to exchange ideas about effective communications and gain from professional writing and editing services. Receive monthly tips and insights by subscribing at https://WriteLady.com.