In a speech spoken by Simon Sinek (video below), he parted with us some words of wisdom:
Be the last to speak.
It’s not a simple process, everyone want’s to be heard. But the thing is, you will get your turn. You will have the opportunity to share your thoughts and opinions.
But what Simon is talking about it but a facet to something bigger I believe. That thing being giving deep meaning to the words that we speak.
Indeed what makes the difference between a leader, a potential leader, and a follower, is how impactful our words are.
Of course there is behaviour and other aspects, but I believe those also determine the words that we use.
So let’s delve into that. Because what makes our words have deep meaning comes down to how we compose ourselves and also the words that we use.
It can be traced down through a series of traits that people can develop.
Be The Last To Speak
So let’s start with the one I mentioned above: be the last to speak.
It’s a simple concept, but it challenging to put it into practice. Again a lot of us want to be sharing our ideas, but also share our opinions.
Many people come into a room with an idea and immediate say “this is a great idea, and I’d like to get other peoples opinions.”
You’re already too late at that point.
There are many benefits to being the last to speak as Simon outlines in the video. You get to ask questions and figure out where this person is coming from.
Not only that but these people feel part of the group. They get to be heard.
Secondly you get to hear everyone’s opinion before you even get to speak yours.
This may sound like a cost to a lot of people, but that is the point.
Having deep meaning to your words feels like a cost at the beginning, however there are many benefits to it. It all depends on your perspective.
Let’s go back to those two benefits. Why exactly are they beneficial?
The first is important as a leader as it allows every person to feel like they contributed to something. How a leader attracts people in general is that they are representing the voices of the people.
In other words, the people need to agree with their leader and their leader needs to serve as the voice of the masses.
So in that situation, if you’re already sharing your thoughts, you already have a bias without even hearing what others have to say.
Even if you have an idea or an opinion already, you can validate it further through other peoples thoughts.
With the second benefit that Simon gave it’s good for a few things. You get to hear everyone’s position and get to make the final decision.
This is big for a variety of reasons, especially combined with some of the tips I will be sharing with you in this post.
Say Only What Is Necessary
Some people say that if you talk way too much your words lack less meaning than those who speak very little. In a sense there is a nugget of truth behind that.
I use the example of King Louis the 14th and his famous phrase “I shall see,” in those instances.
It drives a massive impact as at the time no one really knew where King Louis stood when problems were brought up. People couldn’t persuade him one way or another. They were unable to read him.
That being said, we have motivational speakers who talk for several minutes who can move us and prompt us to take action.
My point is though saying little can make an impact, I believe it’s more important to say only what is necessary.
You may be talking or writing for lengths of time to get your point across. If it takes that long to explain your position then it takes that long.
At the end of the day, the objective is to use words to ensure the person understands it and also say enough for them to process it properly.
For myself, I’ve boiled it down to a few simple rules that I follow.
- Firstly, I keep my words simple. I don’t use any complicated words.
- Secondly, I speak clearly.
- Thirdly, I try my best to speak slowly.
I say try in that case just because I know in some situations I can talk fast.
Each one of these is a given, but it can be surprising how much people forget to do these things.
I believe the words aren’t that difficult as people don’t tend to use incredibly uncommon words.
However not everyone speaks clearly or slowly.
To do this take pauses and read the room, allow a person to jump in if they want to add something to the conversation.
Use Words That Inspire And Spark Emotions
With those two things in mind, the next thing you want to be looking at is using words that inspire and spark emotions. Particularly positive ones.
There’s actually a few models that you can use to determine this, and I believe when using these models, you’re able to give your words a deep meaning and impact to them.
These two models are: The THINK method, along with Socrates Triple Filter Test.
Let’s look at each one.
The THINK method is a series of five questions designed to ensure what you are saying is indeed quality. Going through each question if you answer yes through each one you’ll be able to say it.
Say no at any point and you don’t say it at all.
T is for True
Is it true?
The first question is a good one, especially when we have things like fake news and misleading information being a common thing.
This allows us to filter through any kind of falsehoods. It also ensures that people are actually fact checking.
There is always a source that is backing up every word that we say, whether it’s an experience we had in our lives or something that we watched or read.
Though we can’t do much about personal experience (except accept that it did happen), we can still fact check the other sources.
H is for Helpful
Is it helpful?
Does saying what you are about to say help anyone around you or other people?
To have deep meaning to your words, it’s important to know that what you are telling people either in written form or vocally will actually help them.
I use the example of a poor review I got on my book. The comment was that the book wasn’t written in French (even though the commenter wrote it entirely in English.). It’s not really helpful as as soon as you land on the page you can tell immediately what languages the book comes in.
Don’t get me wrong, I believe that it’s important to state even the most obvious things. There’s a quote I remember that goes like this:
“What may be obvious to you, is incredible to someone else.”
So I believe it’s still worth saying what is necessary and obvious. However you have to play each statement by ear.
In the case of my commenter, you can find the answer as soon as you look at the book.
I is for Inspiring
Is it inspiring?
In other words, are people going to take a positive action because of what you just said? Or do they feel that urge to do that?
There isn’t a specific word usage to inspire people but there are a few core things to inspiring speeches. The big thing is providing enough that people can take action or that they can research for more information.
Giving your words deep meaning is providing that sort of opportunity to other people. It’s giving them a direction to pour emotions into.
N is for Necessary
Is it necessary?
Is what you are about to say absolutely necessary? It goes back to what I said about it being helpful. Again something may be obvious to you but others may not have thought about it.
That means saying what you are thinking of saying is worthwhile.
However if no one is going to get much out of what you are saying it’s not exactly necessary.
To determine this, you have to look at it on a case by case basis. If it’s something that was already discussed or if it’s not going to prompt people to think differently about a situation then it isn’t necessary.
Going back to my commenter, it’s not necessary because people can see already it’s only provided in English.
The only time it’s actually helpful is if the person immediately went down to the reviews and read those first. Even still, it’s not going to change much of peoples opinions.
K is for Kind
Is it kind?
The last question and a good one to end off with. Is what you’re about to say actually nice?
With the world today having a lot of negativity, it can be tough to say kind things to others over the internet.
We can get triggered by a variety of things. Things that we didn’t even think people would get triggered by.
However what’s important to keep in mind is hatred or hate is like fire. It’s not going to put out other fires. Furthermore it’ll spread even farther.
So when we filter our words and give meaning to them, it’s important for them to be kind. Even if it’s a criticism or something people can improve on.
There is certainly a way to give feedback, but you can word it so people will feel inspired to make the change.
To do that it’s a matter, of talking about the things you do like about what they’ve presented. Pair it off with a compliment before saying what can be improved on.
The Triple Filter Test
The other method to giving your words deep meaning is the Triple filter test developed by Socrates.
With this method, the important part is to answer yes to these questions. It’s good for squashing rumours. But I’d also use this model on a case by case basis.
Note also that a question may pass if it answers yes to certain kind of questions as well. This method is more of a case by case basis.
The Filter Of Truth
Is what you are about to tell me true?
Much like with the THINK method, we are starting off with is it the truth. Like I said above, this crushes rumours as it’s difficult to determine if it’s true.
Furthermore you can fact check rumours and check the credibility of those sources.
That being said, even though something may be true, it might not be worth saying it. The fact that something is true might not give your words deep meaning.
I’m saying this because Socrates implied that as long as one of these answers is yes, it’s worth sharing that information.
For myself, how I see this question is this is a good check to ensure people have done their research.
However what makes more of an impact towards stating something hinges more on the other two questions.
The Filter Of Goodness
Is what you are about to tell me something good?
This is the Kindness check from the THINK method more or less. I see this one as a more important factor.
By all means it’s important to know if what you are about to say is true. However this question and the next one make sure it’s actually worth saying because you are checking to see if it’s indeed something good.
If it’s something bad, it’s not going to spread positivity. Furthermore we all know how much negative news can change peoples emotions, especially when it is fabricated.
The Filter Of Usefulness
Is what you are about to tell me useful?
This checks off the helpful and necessary questions in the THINK method. By far this is the biggest question to ask.
Of course what you have to say should be kind and true, but if the person isn’t going to take any action, then it’s not worth saying. Like I’ve been talking in this article, this can boil down to how you present the statement.
In the end, you want the other individual to be taking action and doing something with this information. Is what you are about to tell the person actually going to enrich or improve their life?
These two methods are very powerful methods, however I believe each method should be used in certain scenarios.
For example, the THINK method is great for just about anything. In a sense, it’s a build upon Socrates work.
However Socrates method can still be good as a stand alone or as an enhancer to your words.
It can do this because it’s asking a different question to some degree. It’s different enough that it’s encouraging you to approach your answer a little differently.
I’m saying it can enrich your words to give them deep meaning as your answer may bring forth a new way of thinking for you.
Furthermore the triple filter test is a good method to filter out rumours or in general gossip. When you want to have meaning to your words gossip isn’t exactly necessary to talk about.
When your words have deep meaning, it can encourage people to change and grow. Life is a growing process and to reach new heights, people need to change.
When your words make impacts on people’s lives, they start to turn around and can start leading a more positive life.
Take some time today to pay attention to your words you use. Ask yourself a few questions about what you are writing and telling others.
Are you saying enough and is it clear?
What about your words? Are they true, helpful, inspiring, necessary and kind?
Are you the one talking last after every conversation topic?
Make some adjustments today and with practice, your words will have deeper meaning and drive more impact.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon
Thank you so much for reading! Please share this piece so others can live a more positive life too!