Just the Facts Please!

EarthQuote of the Day: “I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin

The Me, Inc. CEO knows the power of words and chooses them wisely. Opinions confuse, disempower and fuel misunderstandings because they are open to interpretation. Facts give people valuable information they can work with.

Use facts instead of opinions. Observe without evaluating.

Saying “You did a great job” without elaborating does not ensure that both people agree on what “great” means. The word “great” is your opinion.

Facts fit best within a sentence that starts with “I”. For example: “I really appreciate how you took initiative to help me out and got the report done accurately and on time.”

A Story Showing Application of Facts versus Opinions

Marshall Rosenberg, author of Non-violent Communication was approached by a woman who said, “That was an awesome speech.” He acknowledged her gratitude and asked for clarification by saying (paraphrased), I would like to know what specifically inspired you and why so I can share in your excitement. It turned out that she received valuable tools she believed would make a significant difference in her relationship with her teenage son.

Here are some more examples of Opinions expressed and suggestions for being Factual:

1. “You always…” or “You never…” – instead use – “Three times last week the report had errors…”
2. “You are so ______ (kind, generous, lazy…)” – instead use – “When I see you ________, I think you are so _______.”
3. “_________ is such a procrastinator” – instead use – “It is late and the report is due first thing tomorrow. I wonder if …”
4. “You are so irresponsible…” – instead say “I am disappointed that you didn’t arrive on time.”

I encourage you to notice opinion words and ask for or substitute facts, especially where you want to avoid misunderstandings and be clearly understood.

The best of you shows up when you are present with the facts and genuinely communicate them with the desire to draw out the best in others.
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