This week’s theme came to me this week because of the many conversations I have been having with clients and others who are thinking about their words.

I am facilitating two leadership courses for a client right now and one of the current topics is clarity. Being clear, concise, succinct with words. One of the things we teach in coach training is to be aware of the times we stack questions or comments. One client this week wondered if they could say more with less words. Another wondered if they were saying too much or giving too much information. Another was working on how to give clearer instructions so that they would not overwhelm their people.

This brings to mind my word of the year for 2021- which was vital. I will never stop working with this word, as it has taught me so much. Never more than in the area of words. Thinking about what is vital- important, necessary, what adds value is going to help all of us in the area of what to say. The route to being able to do this is the pause we take to think.

As with most things, once again, pausing is the beginning of the answer.

One client uses her pause where she has to reach to unmute herself on Zoom to consider if what she is about to say is really necessary, valuable or clear.

Davidji says “Our speech expresses the true voice of our soul.” Well if this is the case, we might want to be just a tad more careful with our words!

He also speaks of what David Simon called The Three Gates (originally attributed to Socrates). They are three things you can pass what you are thinking of saying through, once you have paused. First you ask yourself “is it true?”, then “is it kind?” and finally “is it necessary?” If you pass all three gates, it is a go. I also like to think about who I am about to talk to and ask myself if this person, or these people deserve to hear what I am about to say. Have they earned that deserving in my life? This may all sound like it takes a lot of time, but it really doesn’t take long to consider these things, and as you gain a habit you will get faster.

Use this with words you are speaking to others, writing emails, texts, posts of social media and especially with your own self talk.

This week practice reviewing your speech through The Three Gates and notice what you notice. See what you can learn, what trends you observe in your communication.

This week how can you be more kind, true, vital, intentional, clear and concise with your communication- verbal and written? What is your commitment?

Awareness and willingness to learn and change are everything- remember you are human and be kind to yourself while you are on the way toward progress.