Byron's Babbles

Does It Need To Be Said?

Last week I finished reading the great book High Conflict: Why We Get Trapped and How We Get Out by Amanda Ripley. I had the chance to hear Amanda speak at the ExcelinEd 2021 National Summit On Education back in November. She is an incredible speaker and an incredible teacher about conflict. I immediately put her book on my to read list. I highlighted and took a great deal of notes while reading and jotted down ideas for blog posts for reflection. So, watch for more posts like this one. During a leadership workshop I was facilitating this past week, a theme emerged with participants wanting to be heard and wanting to get better at hearing others. This made me think of one of the parts of the book where Gary Friedman (conflict mediator, author, and former trial lawyer), one of the case study subjects of the book, shared that a way he used to come out of high conflict was to ask himself three questions (p. 201):

  1. Does it need to be said?
  2. Does it need to be said by me?
  3. Does it need to be said by me right now?

It was stated that it was surprising how often the answer was “No.” These are simple questions, but very powerful. Ever since I read that first question I have been asking it a lot. And, guess what? The answer is “no” more than “yes.” This has helped me in two ways. First, it keeps me from saying those spur of the moment and reactionary things that come off as being snarky; sparking high conflict. It has also helped me focus more on what others are saying and really understanding them. I also believe there are many people who need to use this protocol of questions before tweeting. I can think of a few right now who need to be asking, “Does it need to be tweeted?” If you follow my rules for tweeting of light, bright, and polite you won’t need to worry about this, however.

Next time your in a meeting, discussion, writing an email, writing a letter, or writing a speech, first ask yourself, “Does it need to be said?”