A Life Lesson From my Mom: “It’s How You Say It.”

A Life Lesson From my Mom: “It’s How You Say It.”

By: Jacob Medlen, Gift Planning Officer at Butler University It is no secret that one of the most essential traits of successful people is the ability to communicate.   Thankfully, I had a very successful person, and communicator, in my life from the very beginning.  My mother is an excellent communicator and enjoyed a successful career as a teacher and school administrator.  She took pride in her ability to work with teachers, colleagues, students, and parents.  I think she attributes her ability to effectively communicate as a large factor to her successful career as an educator. Naturally, as a teacher, my mom taught me many different lessons growing up.  One lesson, in particular, that has remained with me through the years, is a phrase that I came to loathe as a teenager (and heard daily).  “Jake, it’s not what you say.  It is how you say it…” Apparently, as I look back, she had a problem with my tone.  At the time I didn’t understand… Now, I do– the tone of my message is just as important, sometimes more important, than the actual message itself. What is your tone when you communicate?  Is it always serious, limited to just the facts, and sometimes bordering on being curt?  Or are you often jovial and joke so often that it can, at times, be difficult to differentiate between jokes or important pieces of information? Whenever communicating, it is important to think about what we are saying, but just as important to pay attention to what is being heard.  If we don’t take time to consider tone, it is completely possible that our intended audience will not receive the message.  After all, “Sometimes it is not what you say.  It is how you say it.” “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” ― George Bernard Shaw

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