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Do you listen when you speak?

Words matter. If you didn't think that before the rise of social media, you should now.

Can you remember something someone said to you when you were young that affected you greatly -- maybe it was spoken to you personally or that you overheard? It could have been directed at you by a friend. It could have been a passing comment by a parent or teacher. Maybe it wasn't even spoken by a person important in your life. It could have been a one-time friend, a parent of a classmate when you spent the night, an overheard conversation in a school hallway. Whatever it was, though, you took it to heart. Maybe it hurt. Maybe it lifted you up. But negative or positive, the person who said it didn't know that it affected you the way it did.

Have you been on the other end of this? Have you ever learned from a friend, a colleague, a child, a sibling that you said something to them that was so significant, so meaningful that it moved the needle of their personal compass in a life-changing direction? And you can hardly remember saying it? Or not remember it at all? Again, it might have inspired them or cut them to the quick. Either way, you don't remember saying it at all.

So. What?

So listen when you speak. Whenever you speak. Refrain from speaking until you are really convinced of the truth and value of your verbal contribution. Listen to yourself when you speak. Resist the urge to just talk. Speak as if your words matter.

Because they always do.

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