Do You Say What You Need To Say?


Like you, my conversations sometimes get away from me. I wish I could have a do-over and tell another person what I truly wanted to express. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings or we don’t want to create conflict, so we just rattle off some words that end a conversation calmly. No big deal- right? It is a big deal because when we aren’t being truthful in our feedback or in speaking up with our opinions and ideas, we aren’t presenting our full self. We are hiding behind a thick shell unwilling to communicate our honest message.


What are the consequences of not being honest in our conversations? What is the impact on us as well as on the other individuals we are connecting with when we don’t communicate authentically?


Have you ever tried to tell someone an incomplete story or shared only part of the big picture strategy? Have you ever avoided giving honest feedback and the recipient left looking confused? When we are not open and direct but instead offer ambiguous exchanges of information, our messages are easily misinterpreted. That can cause frustration to both you and everyone else.


The next time you are in a meeting or a conference call with others, think about how important it is for you to share your thoughts and opinions. Sitting back and letting others offer suggestions and not inputting our own is not leading. When we don’t speak up and clearly share our perspective, we are depriving those around us of great thoughts and insights. Additionally, we feel valued when we can contribute to a project or conversation.


To build strong relationships, we must share our ideas and stories so that others can understand who we are and what is important to us. Being a team member means not only listening to others with focus, but also responding to our colleagues about their suggestions. As we iron out differences in approaches or piggyback on ways to do things even better, we are cultivating deeper and more meaningful connections.


Speaking up in a clear, respectful way enhances our leadership brand. When we share significant anecdotes or lessons we have learned, we help empower those around us to try new ways of doing things. If we don’t offer our words or thoughts we stunt our leadership impact and cheat our teams and colleagues of critical ideas that could lead to more outstanding outcomes.

How do you make sure that you say what you need to say? What obstacles have prevented you from speaking out?


(photo credit)

10 thoughts on “Do You Say What You Need To Say?

  1. So often people focus on what we think others want to hear instead of sharing our truth. It’s so important to say what’s really on your heart…. (kindly). We could all save a lot of time and build deeper trust with more transparency.

  2. That is what I keep seeing with people in and out of organizations- the honesty is sugarcoated or avoided. When we can’t open up to others on what we genuinely feel or sense can be better in a respectful way, we are not leading.

    Maybe leaders need to be more confident in what they are sharing and its importance in helping others grow.

    Thanks Karin for your terrific suggestions!

  3. Great post, Terri!

    Communication is such a tough topic, and yet so essential!

    I’ve got to the point where I repeat what I think I’ve heard someone say, and then I ask the other person to repeat what they think I said…a bit pedantic but it works 🙂

    BTW…love that graphic!

  4. Repeating what you think someone said and then having them also repeat what you said, can be such a helpful way to make sure a each person really gets what is truly being communicated.

    I think that the key is clarifying words and non-verbals in a way that they will be received more successfully. We need to evaluate how we are coming across and make sure we offer up our solutions and ideas. Speaking out is essential for any leader.

    I am glad you liked the graphic. That bird “screamed” out to me!

    Thanks for your comments, LaRae!

  5. I greatly appreciate your thoughts. In my mind, thoughtful and respectful feedback stems ultimately from commitment. As leaders, we must be commited to individuals as well as the system within which we exist. Anything less results in not only the confusion identified above, but also leads to a culture of focusing on only how “I” might feel or am being perceived.

  6. I agree Joanne that when we have a clear vision of where we want to go and how we want to get there, we can more adeptly say what we want to say.

    Honest communication can only exist in organizations where there is transparency and trust.

    Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comments!

  7. Terri – As I read your post I kept thinking about the oath we are asked to take if we ever appear in court, “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”

    Years ago I issued an invitation to a group of my peers to do just that with me, about anything. …And then to emphasize Karin’s point of the importance of kindness – I went on to tell them that I appreciate it most when it is served with a “spoonful of sugar.”

  8. What an amazing charge to ask a group of peers, Chery! What kind of feedback did you get? Did it empower you to grow or change in any particular way?

    When we share honest words about helping others in a respectful way, the advice is usually very powerful. We cheat others out of our insights when we are afraid to tell them the truth. I have found that it can be easier to keep my mouth shut, but far less satisfying to me or a colleague.

    Thanks for sharing your great story!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *