RSS You Have the Right to Remain Silent!

Don’t you find it interesting that so many people embarrass themselves these days because they don’t think before they speak?  Maybe it’s just me, but I find so many examples of it that I’m truly baffled. Far too many people say things they don’t really mean, fail to articulate well, or that are frankly pointless. As a result, people lose careers, businesses lose clients and individuals lose friends.

Consider our current political environment for a moment. Politicians fall all over themselves to find the right words, and we can see them tweaking their message to attract one group of constituents or another. Then, they back-peddle when their message misses the mark. I guess such is the nature of politics when the message is only as good as the perception one creates saying it.

This is not only an issue with politicians, however. Consider all the celebrities and athletes who “tweet” messages on Twitter about things they really don’t understand. They say things that, in many cases, are flat out wrong. Do they do it because they need to be in the spotlight? Maybe they feel pressure to provide “fans” a constant stream of messages.

The same thing happens in the workplace. People say inappropriate things that can – and do – get them in trouble. Is it because they feel some sense of entitlement about how important their opinion is? What a sad commentary about us if we feel obligated to speak just because no one else is talking.

I believe we should all take a deep breath before speaking in front of others. Many comments have the potential to cause negative consequences when we don’t have all the facts. There’s nothing wrong with speaking up when you come from a position of knowledge or personal experience, but it’s a totally different thing to share a perspective in ignorance.

We’ve all heard law enforcement officers delivering someone’s Miranda rights – “you have the right to remain silent.” This advice serves us all well, especially when our perspective hasn’t been solicited or isn’t coming from a position of knowledge.

Whether it’s a slip of the tongue or a joke made in confidence that somehow got “leaked,” remember that no one was ever misquoted for something they didn’t say.

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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