Before Sharing a Piece of Your Mind

thinking-abstractIn recent weeks, I have watched various people vent frustrations in some places where the results could be disastrous. Unfortunately, there are few rules associated with membership in various social media forums. People are encouraged to speak their minds and be completely honest. I realize that many people were never provided the invaluable instruction I received as a very young professional in a traditional corporation. Be very careful with what you put in writing. Those words can travel far and wide before you cannot stop the tide. Having said that, I would like to offer some insight to prevent readers from ever setting off in a direction that becomes unrecoverable.

Would you take the same action in your traditional workplace?

Who is My Audience?

I believe that each time I am unable to determine exactly who I want to receive my message I should re-evaluate my desire to vent. Wanting to vent in public is actually a cry for attention. The responses are rarely what I would want under normal circumstances. This is great advice because our fears are exaggerated in certain instances. A very wise man once said,

“H-A-L-T:     Never address a situation when you are too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.”          ~ Dr. Charles F. Stanley

Whenever someone offends me, I must be careful not to take my battle into a public forum. I might not be able to reach the person who has committed the offense, but other people should never be involved. This type of action reveals the fact that I have a score to settle, and I do not care who I affect with my words and actions. Proceeding down this path can burn bridges beyond repair.

An actual problem with a specific person must be handled directly and never taken into a forum to gain support from others. This is the most difficult situation to handle because I am providing the other person an opportunity to challenge my perceptions and change my mind. I know that I want other people to approach me if I have ever offended them. I must take that risk and address each person directly to resolve issues.

What is My Intended Message?

Rushing to a particular forum just to be heard can be a costly decision. I must ask myself if I should even say what I am thinking before I enter the page where I want to express my message.

— I need help
— I need encouragement
— I need a miracle
— I need a lifeline

In each instance, I have a subconscious desire to be heard for a particular reason. My message will affect readers who can relate to me, who wonder if I have lost my mind and those who are innocent bystanders. I must be sure that my message is clear, and I understand the ways that other people can respond.

What Do I Hope To Achieve?

Sharing a piece of my mind can be helpful to the audience if I consider the possible responses. Maybe I want to reach out to others from my experience and save them heartache. This situation must be described carefully to avoid misunderstanding for those who do not have the details from my background.

I might decide that I have had enough of a situation and want to get attention from someone everyone knows. This is a dangerous step because the same approach in a traditional workplace would result in disciplinary actions. You would never walk into a conference room and confront your boss in front of your co-workers. The few people who have ever tried that are looking for a new job before the day is over. I will always handle this type of situation in private and very carefully.

At times, I have watched in awe when someone has created a post that was clearly an attempt to get noticed or gain importance. I have always wanted to say to these people, “you need a friend.” Seriously, anyone who does not have a safe person to share thoughts and concerns with in a non-professional forum is an island in this life. Certain types of discussions do not belong in any social forum.

How to Express the Issue

Before you share a piece of your mind, please stop and think about all the ways that you could be misunderstood. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people will form an instant opinion of you when they read your post. I have watched in horror as someone was totally confused that responses were full of assumptions and accusations. No one has enough information to avoid this eventuality.

Discuss your concerns and fears with your offline friends and close family members instead of setting yourself into the danger zone on social media. You might one day want to reach out to someone who has formed an unfavorable opinion of you from your statements. Consider all the ways the situation could go wrong and avoid the fallout from this action. You will never be able to deny ownership of the reactions you receive when other people respond to your message.

“Some of us think holding on makes us strong; but sometimes it is letting go.”
~ Hermann Hesse

1 Comment

  • Great post and great advise, if only people acted on it. Thanks

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