I just love TedTalks. I recently watched one that summarized many of the topics I’ve written about before. Some things, however, are worth repeating and hearing again. Sometimes we just need a different slant and this TedTalk by Julian Treasure offered a great talk on speaking habits and how they can stop people from wanting to listen to us.

How to talk so others listen

He offered a way of speaking that he believes could literally change the world if we could all adopt it. Quite frankly, I have to agree with him.

He referred to these bad habits as the “Seven deadly sins of speaking.” Let’s remind ourselves of these seven poor speaking habits and try to create better ones.

1. Gossip
Gossip is speaking poorly about others when they’re not around. But really, what is gossip other than our egos sense of self-importance? We want to let other people know that we know something they don’t know.

When you give a gossip air time, you are only encouraging a bad habit. Gossip—whether fact or fiction—Is damaging: it out and out hurts people. Having been the object of much gossip I can attest to this fact. No one really trusts someone who gossips because who is to say they aren’t taking about you behind your back.

“Gossip is a very dangerous tool. We should be more wary of the gossiper, and not the gossip they’re trying to relay to you.” ~John Lydon

2. Judging
One of my favorites…not! Let’s face it we all do it. It has become so automatic for many of us that we don’t even realize we are doing it.

No one likes to be judged, so why would we inflict onto others what we wouldn’t want for ourselves? When you catch yourself judging, stop! Let the judgment go and question what makes you need to judge.

Listening to someone else do the judging can be just as uncomfortable, so pay attention and let this habit go as well.

“How would your life be different if…you stopped making negative judgmental assumptions about people you encounter? Let today be the day…you look for the good in everyone you meet and respect their journey.” ~Steve Maraboli

3. Negativity
Who really wants to listen to negativity? It certainly doesn’t make us feel good. It can’t.

Sure sometimes we have to share comments on negative events, but constant negativity will turn people off. I am sure we have all heard the old saying; “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Not such bad advice.

“Delete the negative; accentuate the positive!” ~Donna Karen

4. Complaining
This habit is a close relative of negativity. We have all had our fair share of complaining moments, let’s be honest. However, complaining solves nothing, is powerless, and offers nothing but negative energy and vibes. If you want people to tune you out, keep complaining, it’ll work like a charm.

“What you’re supposed to do when you don’t like a thing is change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it. Don’t complain.” ~Maya Angelou

5. Excuses

  • I really wanted to do that…but.
  • I know I was supposed to be there on time…but.
  • I can’t change…because.
  • It’s their fault…because. .
  • It wasn’t my fault. I can’t go, because so and so wouldn’t take me.

This list goes on and on. Excuses hold no power and make us victims. Excuses only lay blame somewhere else and stop us from having to take responsibility for our part, whether in action or reaction. No one really wants to hear them.

“I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse.” ~Florence Nightingale

6. Lying
Really who has patience for lying? How can you be trusted when you lie? Sure there are those white lies that we tell to save someone’s feelings. But then there are those lies we tell to protect ourselves and those are the lies that no one wants to hear.

There are also those lies that we use to embellish a story or exaggerate something, hoping to increase our self-importance. Speak the truth, it will set you free.

“I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

7. Dogmatism
Dogmatism is confusing facts with opinions and then trying to instill our opinions onto others, quite often with anger. All this breeds is resentment, avoidance and hostility.

Share your opinions but try not to get confused between fact and fiction.

“Every religion is true one way or another. It is true when understood metaphorically. But when it gets stuck in its own metaphors, interpreting them as facts, then you are in trouble.” ~Joseph Campbell

So how can we speak so people will listen?

In his talk, Julian suggested something that I really liked. He called it HAIL, which stands for the following:

Honesty: be honest and people will listen to you because they trust you.

Authenticity: speak your truth; again people will value that more than trying to impress them.

Integrity: do what you say, again be trustworthy.

Love: speak from this place and everyone will listen.

Try to have a HAIL approach to speaking and observe the changes in your life in how you feel and how people relate to you.

Have a great week.
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