In golf, a mulligan is a “do over” where the first shot does not count. In communication…when the decision leaves your lips…and you immediately want to take it back…you want a verbal mulligan.
Mulligans are granted in golf every day…unfortunately, they are not the norm in decisioning and communication. Is there an alternative?
Maybe it’s time to re-visit the “4 Second Rule” as it apples to communication.
Second #1– Take a deep breath and instantly decide what you want to say. Determine the single point you want to make and what you’d like for the outcome to be. Consider the half full…half empty approach. Be in the moment, and choose your words wisely.
Second #2 – Consider your tone of voice. A calm and friendly tone certainly beats one that is loud, harsh, condescending, or tainted with sarcasm. Remember the verse:
“A fitly spoken word is like apples of gold in settings of silver.”
Second #3- Make sure you are targeting your message to the right person. Misplaced anger, frustration or hostility directed to the wrong person is at the core of many communication problems.
Second #4 – Adjust your non-verbal behavior (e.g. body language) and realize how it contributes to or distracts from your message. When delivering your message, face the person, make eye contact and have an open position.
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That said, and since “do overs” are not reasonable in communications, maybe this brief little exercise could keep you from ever needing a verbal mulligan.
As always…you decide.