Have you ever wanted to tell a co-worker to go jump off a cliff? Maybe something even nastier?

I have.

Our work as fundraisers relies on building strong relationships — with our donors AND with our colleagues and stakeholders.

I find many of us understand how to do the former, but stumble a bit on the latter.

Words are the bedrock of most of our communication. Words can nurture. Words can bite. Yet we wield them, often without even thinking about what we are saying. Those words just roll off the tongue…

Last night, my meditation teacher explored the art of mindful speech and I think it’s relevant enough to our work to discuss here. When we’re in conversation with colleagues — and friends and family for that matter – practicing mindful speech can help forge stronger relationships. Here are seven points you can put into practice during your next meeting or conversation.

(1) Speak slowly. Our culture rewards quick-wit and fast tongues. Resist that temptation. Slow down a bit. Let yourself think about what you want to say prior to saying it.

(2) Annunciate. This will help you slow down.

(3) Be precise. She who talks longest doesn’t win. She who gets her point across concisely does.

(4) Listen to yourself. (For me, this one is intense). Hear your voice. Be aware of your tone. Be aware of your breath. Listen to yourself, don’t just talk to others.

(5) Listen to others. Don’t just wait for your turn to talk. Practice active listening and repeat back what you’ve heard said.

(6) Use silence. Don’t speak until something genuine rises up in you. Don’t speak simply to make a transition easier or  to  make someone else feel better or to make yourself look smarter. Speak only when you have something to say.

(7) Tell the truth. Speak your truth. It’s the only way to live.

Mark, Sann and I tried this on staff call today. It was hard. We were mindful maybe 55% of the time. But I felt more connected to them and the meeting became less rote and more conversational.

What do you think? Worth trying?