top of page

Taking Your Faith to Work: Think Before You Speak

A few seconds can mean the difference between a successful conversation and an unsuccessful one.

It only takes a few seconds to think before we speak. In those few seconds, we can decide if we should say something, or not. Those few seconds can be the "Stop Sign" we need to heed before going forward. The problem is that we sometimes rush to say something before we have thought about it.

Spending time thinking before we speak can decrease the chance of us spending time regretting after we speak.

God has much to say about the power of words and their ability to heal or harm. A few verses you can take to work include:

“Set a guard, O Lord, before my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.” (Psalm 141:3)

“There are those who speak rashly, like the piercing of a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” (Proverbs 12:18)

“Even a fool, when he holds his peace, is counted wise: and he that shuts his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.” (Proverbs 17:28)

Listening well is a crucial skill in both the workplace and our personal lives. We can all recall situations where we have spoken before fully thinking. Does one come to mind? It is helpful to see if there are any trends in those situations when you look back and wish you had been more careful with your words.

  • Were you frustrated?

  • Were you tired?

  • Were you rushing?

  • Were you feeling overlooked, or unheard?

  • Does it tend to be with a particular person or persons?

Recognizing your "triggers" will help you decrease the chance you will jump into a conversation instead of standing still and pausing to take in all the required information.

As part of my Master's in Rehab Science program, I recently had the opportunity to take an Emotional Quotient test. I found it extremely helpful in determining what some of my stressors were and therefore, my "triggers." One example of this tool is the Emotional Quotient Inventory (EQ-i 2.0), which is an online self-rating assessment tool with the option of adding a multi-rater EQ 360.

Recognizing the benefits of listening before speaking may also increase the likelihood that you will adopt this behavior. Listening before speaking allows you to:

  • understand the background information required to help us in decision making and to avoid being uninformed

  • understand another's point of view that we should take into consideration in our decision making

  • see another person's emotional intensity and therefore choose the correct way to respond

  • speak well as actively listening has helped us to prepare our response

  • decrease the chance of speaking unwisely or acting unwisely, and therefore damaging a situation or a relationship

If active listening was easy, we would have more successful, respectful, and calm conversations. It has been said, "Listening is not waiting to speak." It is very active and requires discipline. However, we can choose to develop this discipline. The ability to listen well is necessary, as words can be very harmful.

Consider what you can do before you speak:

  1. Think about God and how He would want you to respond. Recognize He is with you.

  2. Think about whether or not you have all the facts you need. Do not speak until you do.

  3. Think about what else you need to know. Ask questions.

  4. Think about how the other person might be feeling. This will help you decide if you should respond at the time or not.

  5. Think about what the person can handle and what might be best to discuss at another time. Ask God for wisdom in discerning this.

  6. Think about whether or not this is a good time for you to speak. If you are angry, sad, emotional, frustrated, or anxious, it is likely better for you to let the other person know you prefer to think about things and talk to them at another time.

  7. If you are not at peace about what you are saying, you likely need more time to think about it.

  8. Think about Bible verses that may help you decide what to say and not say.

Consider saying this prayer every morning if you feel you need some help with thinking before you speak:

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the relationships I have in my workplace and personal life. Help me be a wise communicator so I do not cause harm. Please give me the patience and self-control to listen first and speak only after I have heard wisely. Although I may have to discuss complex issues, please give me the wisdom to know I have the truth, the facts and the heart to treat people the way You want them to be treated. In Jesus' name, Amen.

May God richly bless you as you ask God to keep a guard on your mouth and, therefore, a guard on your relationships.

Have a great week!

Bonny, Christian Women at Work


bottom of page