The acronym that I will elaborate on in this post is T.H.I.N.K. It is mostly a shorthand list that serves as a helpful reminder when you are trying to communicate. (Also, acronyms work as handy memory recall strategies, but that is a topic for another day.) This acronym may not be for everyone, however anyone can use it and decide if it works for their purposes.
It is often accompanied with the phrase “before you speak, THINK…”. The phrase is followed by, “Is it true? Helpful? Inspiring? Necessary? Kind?” as a short questionnaire checklist.
The bottom line is this; all of us must speak. THINK is a useful reminder when communication is an inevitable human behavior. We are social beings. We pass on information, thoughts, ideas, criticisms, and much more using our body language and the power of the spoken word. As humans we communicate with other people using words, and with ourselves via our individual internal dialogue. Whether we communicate in an effective way, or otherwise, depends on our approach.
THINK is a useful approach because it serves as a quick and easy internal checklist before communicating to ourselves with self-talk and other people with our words. Odds are, if you consider whether words prior to speaking satisfy at least one of these questions (Is it true, helpful, inspiring, necessary, or kind?), can be a measurement of if it should be said at all. You may also want to consider the THINK acronym in terms of your own self-talk.
A “yes” to the questions on the THINK list could mean that it will be worthwhile and solution based, while a “no” may be destructive or problem based. Words that do not meet the THINK criteria are most likely not worth your time and effort as they may not really communicate much. Similarly, your internal self-talk may be worth keeping or changing depending on the sort of language you choose and how it measures up to the THINK acronym.
With time and practice, this may become a habit of your communication strategy to yourself and everyone you interact with. It will be well worth the time and effort to adopt the, “think before speaking” approach that is immensely helpful to yourself and those you interact with from day-to-day.
Does this approach work for you? Are there other acronyms that work well?