How to speak mindfully

How to speak mindfully


There are two components to communication. There is the speaker and there is the listener. So when we talked about mindfulness in communication, we must remember that mindful listening is equally important, not just mindful speaking. Since we have covered mindful listening in a previous post, today we will cover mindful speaking.

Just like mindful listening, when we talk mindfully, we should start by dropping whatever it is we are doing and just focused on what we want to say. Again, it is important to establish good eye contact with the listener.

In addition to these two points, here are a few extra tips to speaking mindfully.

1. Clear your head of all assumptions

It is always a good idea to clarify what the listener already knows instead of making assumptions that he already knows it. Then it becomes easier to tailor your speech to what is relevant to him. Likewise, the listener should also make it a habit to verify and clarify any points he is unsure about. Making unnecessary assumptions can lead to misunderstanding.

2. Before you speak, pass it through the Triple Filters test

Whenever we communicate something, it is important to reflect first before we say it. The Triple Filters test, attributed to the wisdom of Socrates, is a good way to reflect on what you want to say. The first filter is TRUTH. Is what you say true? If it is not, do not say it. Even if it is true, we then need to filter it at the next level.

The second filter is GOODNESS. Ask yourself, is it beneficial to the listener? Will it do him good, or otherwise? If it will not benefit him, or may even harm him, what would be the wisdom of saying it to him? On the other hand, if it is true and good, then we pass it through the third and final filter.

The third filter is APPROPRIATENESS. For appropriateness, we need to look at whether it is appropriate in time, in place and in person. Is it the right time to say it? Is this the right place for it? Are you the right person to say it, or is this the right person to say it to?

Passing your speech through this Triple Filters test will make sure that your motive for speaking is good and not due to some hidden selfish agenda.

3. As you are speaking, be mindful of a few things

The first thing to be mindful of when you speak is to notice whether the words you choose are appropriate and accurately send the message you intended. Next, watch the tone of your voice. Is it friendly and warm, or hostile? Is there any hint of criticism or judgment? Be mindful also of your body language, gestures and postures. Remember that a warm friendly speech is always more welcoming than a harsh speech, and the listener is more likely to be receptive to it.

It may be difficult to be mindful of all the above when we first practice mindfulness in speaking, but as with all skills, with constant practice it will become easier. Once you have become good at it, you will notice the transformation in your relationships with others in a positive way.

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