Good Communicators: When NOT to Speak
Not everyone is a good communicator. That's fairly obvious. What isn't so obvious, or at least commonly discussed, is when it's a good time for even talented communicators to zip the lip. Some of you communicators out there feel entitled to speak at all times, given the fact that when you do speak, people understand what is being said.
Having a gift isn't the same as being mature, however. This is where people get confused. There are many skilled communicators who are VERY immature. There are various reasons for stunted growth in social and emotional areas, and we won't cover all the reasons why this happens today.
After some honest reflection, it's rather obvious to me that a gifted communicator will get away with a lot more immaturity than others, if for no other reason than because he or she can talk a good game. Sadly, knowing words and how to use them does mean that you are the embodiment of their concepts. Politicians are the perfect example. Eloquent words of peace, new beginnings, and reform are always popular subjects for political speeches. Does anyone really believe that these men and women espouse their stated ideals?
People learn to say what it takes to get results. Period. Children learn this at an early age. If good behavior doesn't attract attention, then bad behavior is the next choice. If that gets results, the child tries it again later. Eventually, a child learns what is effective and what isn't. The ends justifies the means.
Until you grow up… at least, that's the hope. Hopefully, you eventually reach a certain point where you weigh the pros and the cons and make intelligent decisions, sometimes accepting the more difficult road in light of the costs of the easy road.
Gifted communicators learn early on that the right words unlock the right doors. They find that if they can simply study words and the responses they elicit, the right combination of words can be found each time to elicit the desired response. For an immature communicator, this means that people and words become mathematical equations. Plug the right symbols into the right places and the equation works perfectly.
Sadly, this means that some communicators spend more time studying how to manipulate people than how to mean what they say. These orators have the gift of gab, and it's their ticket to the big time just like stunning looks allow some women to get whatever they want without ever developing a deeper personality.
I guess it's the same deal as always, different details. Football stars make their way through life on their athletic talent. Musicians and singers get what they want because of their ability. Models get what they want because they're beautiful. And talkers get what they want because they know the right words to say.
All of these giftings may require some discipline to hone or maintain, but we all tend to gravitate towards what we do best. We all want praise and we all want to feel valuable.
The biggest challenge for a gifted communicator will be learning when to remain silent. You may know the right words to get what you want, but can you walk the talk? If you're not speaking from life experience or sincere belief, chances are your mouth will write checks your character can't cash. Just remember that silence can be more profitable than the right words, if it means that you don't overextend yourself. Do what you say. That's character. If you can't do it, don't say it.
You're only as good as your word.