I was telling a story tonight and part way through my daughter, the one with a steel trap for a memory, corrected me on part of it. My husband stopped and asked her, “You are such a positive person, do you really listen for what is wrong in what a person is telling you?”
That is really a pregnant and poignant question that is worth examining deeper. See there is a confusion on what is considered “negative” and what is considered “accurate”. My daughter’s brain listens to hear and absorb accurate information. Accepting inaccurate information feels negative to her brain and thus her brain rejects it.
So while my husband’s brain hears questioning or correcting as “negative”, my daughter’s brain hears accepting inaccurate information as “negative.” Isn’t that interesting?
My point is that there really isn’t a correct answer to this but there is something you can use as a gauge to determine if what you are sharing in a conversation is being picky or actually being strategic.
1. Will others listening to the conversation gain from getting more accuracy? If so, you should correct and get the accurate information.
2. If what you said was repeated later and you knew what you had said was inaccurate and others made decisions based on that inaccurate information, how would they feel? This is a trust issue. The more people know you will give accurate information that they can verify later on their own and ensure it is accurate, the more strategic they will see you and the more they will trust whatever you say.
3. Are you making corrections because it makes you sound smarter? If so, don’t correct at that time as all you will be doing is making the other person feel small.
Bottom line, if you want your word always trusted make sure you speak accurately, qualify your assumptions or things you are unsure of. If you do state something inaccurately, give the other party the accurate information as soon as you know it.
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