People who lack self-awareness have no idea what's coming out of their mouths and they'll say things that reveal their inner thoughts and get them in trouble at work and at home. We see examples of this all around us when people make sexist, racially tinged or other inappropriate or clumsy comments because they have limited understanding of how their statements might affect others. It happens a lot in the workplace when leaders trample on their employees or hurt them in some way without realizing that there are other options.
A major element of self-awareness is the ability to practice effective communication, as in, thinking before you speak and, more importantly, being as healthy a person as you possibly can be so that you understand how not to step on others. Here are some tips to heal a case of big mouth:
- Listen more than you talk.
- Think before you speak.
- Resist the urge to say the first thing that comes to your mind.
- Ask yourself how your words might be perceived by others.
- If you think what you have to say might be offensive, it will likely be.
- Clarify what's going on by asking open-ended questions.
- Ask people for feedback.
- Watch people's facial expressions and reactions.
- Choose to step outside yourself and consider others' feelings.
- Think of a kind way of saying things.
- Say things that build people up.
- Monitor your own body language and reactions.
When you practice these behaviors you'll run a far smaller risk of finding a foot lodged in your mouth and you'll build a more compassionate and respectful workplace. You'll also save time and effort because you won't have to deal with the misunderstandings or conflicts that arise when the message is clouded by extraneous elements. What will you do to make sure you're communicating effectively, kindly and compassionately?