Before speaking up, ask yourself these four questions. Is what I’m about to say:
I know, I know, there’s a lot of buzz on speaking up and saying what’s on your mind — especially for women — but I suggest that we all speak up after we’ve quickly gone through this four-question filter.
First, is what you’re about to say necessary? Will there be anything different because you said it? If not, what's the point?
Is it helpful? Will saying it help the person, group, or organization reach their — or your — goal? If not, do you really need to say it?
Next, is it true? Of course, if we’re about to say it we believe it to be true, but how do we know? It is our intuition? Based on anecdotes, based on our past experiences, based on specific facts and data? This filter quickly gives us useful context.
The true filter also holds you accountable when — in difficult situations — something might feel necessary and be helpful but is not true. Imagine this...you're giving feedback to someone about their overly aggressive style when following-up on deadlines (insert young Dawn here). As they listen their eyes well up with tears. You are tempted to say something to ease the blow. Don’t.
Last question. Is what you’re about to say kind? Not the sugary-sweet-and-buttering-people-up kind of kind. Are the words coming from a kind place of intention? That kind place of intention is also the place with the courage to share that which is necessary, helpful, and true.
Four questions. Less than 4 seconds. Do you have time?