“Speak truth each one of you with his neighbor.”

When it comes to communication, learning to listen tends to be a hot topic. But how can we be understood if we are not clear? Speaking is a crucial yet challenging part of the communication process also. If we are to communicate effectively, we must develop our ability to speak.

Speaking is so essential that we will be doing a three-part series on the topic with a different principle each month.

This first principle is about speaking the truth. The author initially wrote this principle in Greek, and the word “neighbor” more appropriately translates to “all those who are near.” In other words, we should speak the truth to all individuals we engage and interact with. That doesn’t mean we should approach random people and tell them all about our life.

Trying to decide what “truth” to speak can lead to a long rabbit hole of discussion. Before we get too carried away, let me provide some context.

When we interact with people, the most common question they ask us is, “How are you?” Generally, we respond, “I’m fine, thanks. How are you?” However, are you always fine?

I’m not always fine. I struggle. I have stressful days. Bad things happen. Good things also happen. Some days are fantastic, way better than fine! Yet, the typical response is, “I’m fine.”

In this one example, there are many reasons you may not want to go beyond the common expression of “I’m fine.” You might think the other person doesn’t actually want to hear how you are really doing. Or maybe, you don’t feel like sharing.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t still speak the truth. We can say, “Honestly, it has been a rough day, and I’m a little stressed.” Telling the truth will reveal your state of mind to the person communicating with you, which will help them engage with you more effectively. If they don’t want to know more than that, they won’t ask more questions.

If they do ask more questions, but you don’t want to dive into it, it’s not an issue to say, “Thank you for asking, but I’m not ready to share more than that right now.”

Just because we speak “truth” doesn’t mean we are sharing every little bit of information. If we don’t want to share something, we can say that. Saying that we don’t want to share more is still speaking the truth. We are sharing our perspective, our mindset, and our emotions in productive, honest ways.

Speaking the truth as we engage with others is the first step in The Speaking Art Form. There is much more depth to explore, which we will get to in the coming months. But for now, how can you speak more truth to others?

Update: Click here for Part II