THINK: 15 Ideas to Help You Talk Less and Listen More

by Jennifer Miller on February 10, 2014

in Communication, Personal Effectiveness

THINK model

Ask these 4 questions before you speak your mind at work.

A few years ago, my friend Erin Schreyer posted this saying on her Facebook page. That afternoon, the image found its place onto our family’s refrigerator, where it remains to this day. We’ve had many meaningful conversations using the “THINK” model. From spats with siblings, to ways to talk to a friend about a difficult subject, this acronym helps quells the urge to blurt something out that may do more harm than good.

The “THINK” model also serves a useful purpose in the workplace. How many times have you blurted out something you wish you could take back? You can use the “THINK” model to help you process your thoughts before you speak so that you will talk less and listen more.

The “THINK” Model for the Workplace

Is it true?

  • What factual evidence do I have to support my claim?
  • Might there be other versions of the “truth” out there?
  • Do I have the whole story?
  • Even if it is true, will it make a positive difference to speak up?

Is it helpful?

  • Is my true intent to help?
  • Will this person be receptive to my assistance?
  • If I say something right now, might I make things worse instead of better?
  • Is there a better time to offer my help?

Is it necessary?

  • What would happen if I just “let it be” for a few days?
  • Who stands to benefit by me speaking up right now?
  • What will be gained by saying this?
  • Am I trying to give someone a dose of “their own medicine” or “reality”?

Is it kind?

  • Is sparing this person’s feelings at this moment the best course of action?
  • Is there an element of payback: “He’s never nice to me, so why should I be nice to him?”
  • Can I speak out with true compassion for this person’s situation?

People who are influential tend to be those who are able to shut up and listen. Use these 15 powerful questions to help you build productive relationships with your peers and colleagues at work.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Denise Blair February 10, 2014 at 10:57 am

Jennifer, I like the addition of the questions. The THINK model goes to a deeper level with them.

Jennifer Miller February 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm


Yes, it’s funny how these things resurface time and again, isn’t it? Until Erin shared this acronym, I’d never seen it. I’m so glad it came into my life when it did; it may have otherwise been lost on me.

Jennifer Miller February 10, 2014 at 5:02 pm

Thanks, Denise! Glad you enjoyed it.

Jennifer Miller March 14, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Hi, Bill, welcome to The People Equation!

You know, we’ve all been there – said something we wish we could take back. With effort from both parties, reconciliation is possible.

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