In principle, a simple but important decision I have to make every moment in a group is whether to open my mouth or to keep it shut, to talk or to listen. I contribute best to good group decisions if I set the default to “listen.” After all, God gave me two open ears and one closeable mouth. I listen unless there are compelling reasons to talk, not vice versa.
Practical Tip: Listen most of the time. Speak up only if:
1. You personally care about the issue and have a real stake in it,
2. You understand the issue enough to add useful, accurate information,
3. No one else has already said it, even with different words, and,
4. It is the right time for speaking on the issue.
If each of the four conditions is met or if you have strong feelings just screaming to be shared then — yes! — please speak up. Others will benefit from your words. Otherwise, best to listen.
– Craig Freshley