Misti Burmeister
author, speaker, executive coach

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister, author of "From Boomers to Bloggers," founded Inspirion Inc. and specializes in speaking, executive coaching, and generational diversity in the workplace.

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Speak your truth

Q: Are successful people blunt by nature? In recent weeks, retired NFL star John Riggins has been scathingly critical of his former team, the Washington Redskins. Is his take-no-prisoners rhetoric typical for achievers? Do the tactful accomplish more?

Speak your truth -- then modify your expression over time. Too many people worry about what/how they say something and often never say anything because they are afraid of how they may come across.

We've all heard it: "There is no such thing as bad publicity." What's tactless to one person might be brilliant to another. Worrying about what others might think could ensure you don't upset someone, but it also might rob you of the right to say what's true for you.

As a woman who has shoved my foot in my mouth more than once, I've learned to consider my words a bit more before speaking. I've learned to laugh at my mistakes and move on, choosing to focus on my growth rather than the stupid thing I said.

"Are successful people blunt or tactful?" The real answer is in the combination of the two: bluntful! I know, it's not a word . . . well, at least not until I go to dictionary.com and add it!

The definition? "To speak your truth in the most tactful way possible." This definition takes into account the number of experiences you've had speaking your truth. So, if you've only had a few, then you get more leeway.

Because there really is no "truth," I say go out and speak yours!

By Misti Burmeister  |  November 17, 2009; 11:12 AM ET  | Category:  tactless or truth-tellers Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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One of the best things I've ever learned how to do was to openly admit I was wrong about anything I find myself wrong about. I'm not perfect so it happens more than I'd wish, but owning up to it helps me out a great deal.

I also have learned to consider what I say before I say it in every possible circumstance. I still say things I regret sometimes, but the more considered I am about my communication, the better I do with it.

csread:
I put nothing in mine, let them think what they want, the assumptions are their mistakes, not mine. I know who I am. There's some value in having a pseudo-anonymous free speech arena to speak in, and I enjoy the freedom a great deal. I still end up owning my own words though, it's just harder for the angry mobs to throw stones at me this way.

Posted by: Nymous | November 18, 2009 6:05 AM
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Awesome post! I get this question all the time because I put on my "about me" that I'm a Virginia Democrat. When I teach social media classes and people see that, I am invariably asked about offending someone by having that on my profile. How can you offend someone by stating a fact about yourself? My response is that I don't recommend going through life being vanilla flavored. There's nothing remarkable, memorable or differentiating about someone who goes through life with the purpose of "not offending anyone." Great job Misti!

Posted by: csread | November 17, 2009 3:15 PM
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