I was talking to my Mom recently about a Historical society event she attended in our hometown. For the few of you who know her, you will say, "What was Patty doing at the meeting?" Well, I will say that she's lived in this city her entire life, so she probably is interested in the history and knows some of it herself. Then she told me during the meeting, all she was thinking about were the cucumber and pimento cheese sandwiches that they were serving following the meeting. I guess my Dad would have been much better suited for attending.
She talked to two women after the meeting. One that she knows well, and the other that she knew in her childhood, but hasn't really seen in many years.
The woman (that my Mom hasn't seen in many years) said two things early in their conversation that made it awkward, but also somewhat funny after the fact. To my Mom, "Well, you're certainly all grown up." To the other woman, "I didn't recognize you with your hair!"
Both statements were just weird and inappropriate and it made me think about the power of words. We use them so quickly these days (email, Facebook, our blogs, etc) and they can often be misconstrued. We also seem to use them too quickly in person, too.
Like the person who said to me, "I was shocked to see you listed as our President-Elect." Ummm, thank you? How do you answer that, politely?
Yes, I am the official President-Elect-Elect (awful PEE acronym) for the Junior League in my city. It is a huge honor. I was thrilled to be asked, and I look forward to serving and working with our incredible members.
I try to use a rule that I learned from a PR professional when being interviewed by the Media. I think that this can be used in so many areas of our lives and not just on TV interviews. This doesn't mean that you can't still answer honestly, just think about what you say for 3 seconds before you actually say it.
Take a few seconds before you answer the question and once you answer, shut up. Most people don't like the silence and will ramble. That's when you end up sounding like a dumbass in an interview and that's what the reporter will likely use in their article or sound byte.