It’s What You Say AND How You Say It

I’ve always believed in that old cliché—“It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it.” And there really is SOME truth to it.

I suppose it mostly refers to your tone of voice and general attitude in how you express yourself. If you feel enthusiastic, it will come through in your voice. In a bad mood? We can figure that out, too.

So, I was recently trying to solve a problem. My 11-month-old twin girls decided together one day to refuse to eat from the spoon that I was using to feed them. Overnight, they decided that they only wanted to eat using their hands. Asking my mother’s advice, she went all alarmist on me and told me that if I missed the “window of opportunity” for them to eat with a spoon I would be sorry and have wolf children that ate with their hands for the rest of their lives.

I started to panic. I had to get them eating with the spoon. I knew that they lacked the manual dexterity to feed themselves, but decided to give it a try. Guess what? HUGE MESS.

So I was asking my neighbor for her advice. She told me that she had a similar issue with her two daughters. She suggested, very calmly, that I give them a spoon to hold while feeding them with another spoon. It seemed that the act of holding the spoon would make them feel like they were feeding themselves, and it was a REVELATION.

Here is the thing: both women told me to hand a spoon to the girls, but they each had a slightly different way of expressing themselves, with different results.

So what the heck is my point, you ask? Give some serious thought to what you say AND how you say it. Make sure that your meaning and intention are clear. A good way to ensure that your point has been received is to check for acceptance. I know it may seem elementary, but it is worth it. Try, “So what I am saying is… Does that make sense to you?”

Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.

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