As children and young adults, we are told to think before we speak, but nobody ever tells how to think or what to consider when we are making that decision. There are many things that affect how what you say will be taken. Some of which include the purpose, audience, context, and atmosphere of your surroundings. For instance, you would not want to tell a stranger that they have a stain on their shirt while at a funeral surrounded by quiet bystanders. So let’s review what to ask yourself before you say it.
4 Main Points to Remember
Why you are saying what you are about to say -that is what purpose means in this context. In relation to the previous example, the purpose would be to help someone; to make sure they know so that they can take care of it. But just think: is it worth it? Is it necessary? Why do you need to tell them right now? Can it or should it wait? The answer is probably. Wait for a time when you are one-on-one so as to not draw further attention to it.
Depending on who you are talking to, you are going to modify what you say and how you say. You definitely would not want to use the same tone and vocabulary that you might use with a ten-year-old with a sixty-year-old. And while major adjustment may not be necessary, one must take into consideration their audience’s ago. Do not assume that this implies that you should use ageism as a means to discriminate, but simply know your audience. Just like with television, advertisements are geared towards their audiences. Retired persons are usually at home during the day, so those advertisements are more likely geared towards retired people. My grandmother confirmed this with me as she just recently retired and made this realization.
The context in the previous example was the funeral. Context refers to the circumstances with which you find yourself when you are about to speak. Depending on where you are, you might be more inclined to say some things rather than other things. At a funeral, it is probably best to not makes comments about appearances at all, simply due to the fact that people are probably not at their best.
The atmosphere is not referring to the gases around us, but the overall mood of a location. This draws from the audience and the context as well. The atmosphere at a funeral would be felt as slow, sorrowful, and sad. So, it would be unreasonable to make loud, excited comments about the football game from the other night with your favourite cousin.
Some more examples:
1- You are with your grandmother at a public fair or concert and there are people who do not necessarily conform to society’s flow; they have tattoos, piercings, colourful hair, and an extreme fashion sense. Instead of her looking to you and asking why people have to act like that or making fun of them, she should be more considerate, right? Everybody has their own style and way of life, and we all need to respect each other.
2-You are an employer now, hiring new employees for your new business. You have many candidates and have chosen a handful for interviews. Instead of making your first judgments based off of the looks of your interviewees, worry more about their qualifications. Instead of hiring someone more societally attractive with no qualifications over someone with great qualifications but who is not of societal beauty standards, think more about who will benefit the business more.
3- Lastly, you are at a clinic with your significant other or friend. The atmosphere is downhearted. Instead of making a joke to try to lighten the mood, which would most likely be unsuccessful, the best solution might be to just remain quiet. Get your friend a magazine, some water, or something from the vending machine. Remind them that you are there for them. After they are done there is the time for your jokes to distract them and bring them back down to earth.
Some things that I always ask myself before I say anything are: does this affect my life in such a considerable way that I must say something, will this truly help the person I am about to say it to, and will I regret what I am about to say later?
Just remember to be the best you!