Before you say or write anything, do this…
When I was checking on my book last week, one thing I noticed was that after months of it having been up I finally got a review on the book. I was really excited about it, until I looked at it and saw it was a one star review.
Even though I haven’t been marketing my book all that much, it still hurt me a little to see that. I scrolled down to see what the person left, curious to know why I got such a terrible review.
The sole reason it got a bad review was that it was in English and a French version isn’t available.
The irony of all of this is the username is a former Canadian Prime Minister. Being a former government official and all you’d think you’d need to know both official languages to be in that position. The second ironic thing is the comment was in English and suggesting the individual could write, speak, and understand English.
I’m not writing this to vent or say I’m angry
It’s just a review by someone who didn’t THINK. They could’ve easily sent me an email suggesting I make a French version. But again they didn’t think it through. They wanted to let their opinions be heard. That emotion or that need compelled them to do it.
Again, they didn’t THINK.
By this point you may be asking me,
Okay what do you mean by THINK?
THINK is simply a process of asking a series of questions on what you are about to write or say to someone. As I’ve talked about before and will say time and again, our words do make an impact even if it’s a small voice.
Anyway through each question you would answer yes or no. If it’s yes, you move on to the next question. If you get to the last one and you still answer yes then you would be good to say it. If you answer no at any part then you stop and don’t say anything.
The first question is…
Is it true?
It is true that my book is only available in English? So far that comment I got is safe. You can easily look at the page where my book is available and see if there are any other versions written in a different language.
But the truth can be harder in other circumstances. You can let people’s bias or opinions get in the way. It can be difficult, in fact I’d say impossible to have an unbiased opinion about something.
You are either exposed to someone who leans towards one side than the other or you have personal experience with it.
Either way what’s important when it comes to the truth is understanding both sides of the story. Not necessarily picking a middle ground, but know why people are for something or against something can help in weeding out what is true and what is false.
The second question is…
Is it helpful?
Already my poor review commenter wouldn’t be safe now. By this point they shouldn’t have commented in the first place.
To go back to that comment how is it helpful for any person? After reading that sentence would you feel you could make a better decision knowing that a French version isn’t available. Even though once you land on the page, it immediately tells you what languages are available.
Is what you’re about to tell or write to someone actually helpful? Will it enhance that persons understanding or improve their life in a small or a big way? Does it inform them of something that they otherwise wouldn’t know just from looking?
The third question is…
Is it inspiring?
Going back to being helpful, does it actually prompt a person to take action? Do they actually feel motivated after reading or hearing those words? You can provide advice that can be helpful and true, but if you write or sound like your condescending, the person isn’t going to budge or change.
When you want to aim for inspiring words, you want to be using particular words. Specifically the ones that will follow the next two questions.
Fourth question is…
Is it necessary?
It goes back to the helpful question, is it necessary to say it. Do you feel that the person actually needs the advice or what it is that you are about to tell them? Again necessary is something that is needed.
When you want to inspire someone the words you are saying are necessary. You don’t need to add in extra words. You want to say what is necessary and that the person really needed to hear that at that particular moment.
And lastly, the fifth question is…
Is it kind?
In this world where we have so much negativity and hateful comments, I believe it’s important that we dwell more on positivity. Even though to this date we are living in the most positive world in the past hundred years, people are still feeling sad and depressed.
So instead of spreading more flames and hateful comments, take the time to ask yourself is what you’re about to say actually kind. Kindness is really the last barrier and is definitely a tough one as many things we tell people can be true, helpful, inspiring in a sense, and necessary, but may not be kind.
Even in cases of brutal honesty, be sure to say something nice to a person. In order to prompt an active change to someone, you can inspire them by saying something nice. It may not be the words you really want to be hearing, but kind words can truly make you change.
This week, I plan to talk more about the power of words:
Sharing some words that are inspiring that you might not have thought of.
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