Three Reasons Why “Clean Talk” is So Important

During some of my recent coaching sessions, I have both noticed my clients leaning toward wordiness and/or my clients would have to address wordiness in others.  Furthermore, part of our work in The Crucible Project is the encouraging of each man to practice clean talk.  In other words, avoid story and speak to the point.

I have been working quite a bit on my own wordiness over the last few years.  I had always heard that “less is more.” Now as I coach others in their jobs, and everyday life, I am beginning to understand “clean talk” in a deeper way.

Recently I began re-reading through Ecclesiastes.  I ran across this passage and it jumped off the page for me.  Ecclesiastes 6:11 “The more the words, the less the meaning, and how does that profit anyone?” (NIV)  Wow!  I began to think about how that applies.  I began to observe three major areas of story telling and wordiness in both others and myself.  Here is what I observed:

  • The more words I use, the further from my emotion I move. When I begin to tell long stories about why I am feeling the way I am, I begin to take less ownership of my emotion.  The story becomes the replacement.  Many times, I have begun to pass responsibility for my emotion off on the “cause” for my emotion.  Furthermore, telling story insulates me from some of the pain my emotion may cause.  Finally, my story has me thinking about the cause instead of just feeling the emotion.  By feeling, I actually have more control over the emotion than thinking gives me.  Once I have felt the emotion, then I am able to control the feeling in a balanced way.
  • The more words I use, the further from my truth I move. When I tell story, I begin to defend rather than own my choices and their consequences.  As I own choices and live in truth, many times I begin to feel some sort of shame or exposure.  People may react to my openness and truth.  Therefore, I begin to tell the back-story and defend my choices.  This can send me down a road of justification, blame, and projection.  Furthermore, because of this cycle of wordiness, defensiveness, and projection, I still do not live as my true self.
  • The more words I use, the more I am trying to convince myself. This is especially true when it comes to my religious talk.  I believe in my head what I am saying…and what I am saying is true and good.  However, if I am repeating or feeling like I need some sort of feedback or affirmation around my story, then I am only trying to convince myself that this is true.  Again, I believe what I am saying is true, I just do not believe that I am living it out in my life.  I do not believe that I am that man yet.  Therefore, I talk about it…a lot.  A recent example for me was a conversation with my wife about a work scenario.  In her business, her company deals with many vendors.  She was telling me about one particular vendor who talked too much.  Every time her and/or her partners asked a question, he replied with a lot of repetitive information and never really answered their questions.  She felt something just was not right with this presentation.  I noticed right away that his wordiness was this vendor trying to convince himself.  They sensed his lack of confidence in his wordiness.  He did not get a contract with them.  The more words I use, the less convinced I am (at my core) and I do not live as God made me to be.

So, how do I move forward?

  • First, feel my emotion.  When I feel, I report my feeling with little context.  There is no need for lengthy back-story.  If someone is curious, then he can ask.  It is somewhat narcissistic of me to think that everyone wants to hear my story.
  • Second, I must own my truth and consequences.  There is no need for me to explain my reasoning behind what I chose to do.  Again, if someone is curious, then he can ask.  My question for myself after I accept my truth and consequences is, “How do I live in truth going forward?”  I rest in the fact that I am who I am as God’s creation.  My choices do not necessarily define who I am.
  • Third, I must stand in certainty of what I believe.  Whether I am selling, marketing, or living as a godly man, I stand in certainty of who I am.  Instead of talking about what I believe, I must live it out.  When I was coaching sports teams, I used to tell those coaching with me, “Never allow me to where a shirt that says, ‘Coach’ on it.”  If those around me did not know I was the coach, then I had no business coaching.  There is no need for me to use story to convince people who I am.

Where in your life do you tend to be too wordy or feel compelled to tell the “back-story”?  Where are you denying or ignoring your emotion?  Where are you avoiding your truth?  In what ways are, you not convinced about what you believe.  Over the next few days, pay attention to and meditate on Ecclesiastes 3:7b “…a time to be silent and a time to speak…” (NIV)

By Byron Myers

Byron completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009. His deepest desire is to help people believe in their God-given goodness and live lives of integrity, authenticity and feel loved and accepted.Byron is the author of the ebook, Weekly Devotional Thoughts:  Weekly Applications of God’s Word. Byron is the High School Principal at Midland Christian School in Midland, TX.Byron is the High School Principal at Midland Christian School in Midland, TX and a successful Business and Personal Life Coach. Byron at Weekly Devotional Thoughts.

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