An Acronym You SHALT Remember
In teaching a university-level class, I was exposed to a great book by Laurie Beth Jones titled, "Jesus, Entrepreneur." I am going to take one idea from the book and elaborate on it here. This idea made me think of communications and decision-making in a new light. Let’s discuss the “SHALT” rule. SHALT is an acronym for Sad, Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. As this is a blog on communications, I wanted to explain what this means to us.
How many times have you said something you wish you could take back? How many instances have you written something you later regret? How often have you acted in an uncharacteristic manner and wished you could get a do-over? I know I have had such situations in my life, as have you. Why? We are human and wired with emotions. The “SHALT” rule is one that can help you become better in decision-making and all forms of communications.
If you are sad, it is best to postpone making a decision, as you are not in the right frame of mind to look at the issue in a balanced manner. Instead, find a time when you are feeling better and then, with a clear mind, make the decision. You will be glad you did. Second, many of us get quite grumpy when we are hungry. Trust me, I do. If you have not eaten, it is likely you will not be thinking clearly and may say or write something you later regret. So, wait until you are no longer hungry and feel better, and then calmly express what you seek to communicate.
How about when we are angry? I know this is a big one for many of you. If you have watched this political season at all, you can see we have an angry country. In the age of social media, it is easy to fire off a tweet, Facebook post, text, or email in a matter of seconds. You know the drill, when someone makes you mad—it is best to blast them right then and there for the whole world to see. (I am kidding. No, this is not the best thing to do.) Like sadness, anger is an emotion that will settle itself in time. And you should wait until the emotion of anger is gone, so you can calmly respond to whatever issue you are facing.
In many youth sports, there is a 24-hour rule. This means after a game, if you are upset with your child’s playing time, etc., you must wait 24 hours before talking to the coach. If you still are angry after that time, then it is OK to begin the conversation. However, in many cases the emotion dies down (before 24 hours), and you are glad you did not react on adrenaline. I can literally say, almost every time I have ever written or said something “while angry in the moment” it has backfired. And I have kicked myself for getting baited when I knew better and should have waited. Take some time to calm yourself in order to best handle the issue in an effective manner.
How about when you are lonely? Maybe you have not had a lot of time around people in recent weeks or are just bored in life. Again, this is not a good time to communicate or make decisions on important matters. Why? Again, we are out of balance and need to be centered before doing such things. It is easy to feel everyone else is getting things that you are not or that others go on fun vacations or have more money than you. All of these thoughts creep up (and many more) when we are lonely.
What about when we get tired? After all, in our rapidly moving world we all get tired at some point. You know the phrases: "running ragged," "slammed," "buried," "drowning," "in the weeds," etc. This is a time you feel great stress and need to rest so you can think clearly. So, do not write, say, tweet, text or do something you will later regret due to being worn out. It will come across the wrong way. Trust me. Instead, get some rest and approach everything with a fresh perspective. I promise you will be glad you did. This is why we say, "get a good night’s sleep and things will look better in the morning."
There you have it. This is my take on the SHALT rule of thinking as it is relates to sales, marketing, leadership, communications and decision-making in our lives. Does this mean you should always wait to say or write something? No. Does this mean you should always wait to make a decision? No. However, understanding when you are feeling “sad, hungry, angry, lonely or tired” is important. These things can greatly impact us and, thus, we must be aware that while they are just “emotions,” they are real. Emotional intelligence/ emotional quotient is a huge part of successful communications and something I am working to learn more about and become certified in.
So, what about you? Are there times when following this SHALT rule could have helped you? After reading this article, what SHALT you no longer do?
For a free phone consultation with me as to how your emotions play a huge role in success or failure, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can set up a time to talk.
Ryan T. Sauers has spent 25 years leading and/or consulting with printing, graphics, promotional and visual communications related organizations. Ryan is President of the independent consulting firm, Sauers Consulting Strategies, founded in 2010.
Key areas of focus of the firm include: sales training, marketing strategy, personal branding, leadership development and organizational change.
Sauers is a frequent national speaker and columnist. He has been recognized as one of the top 80 CMOs in the world and achieved the top designation of Certified Marketing Executive through Sales and Marketing Executives International.
Sauers is an adjunct university professor teaching leadership and communication courses to current and aspiring leaders. He is a Certified Myers Briggs, DiSC and Emotional Intelligence Practitioner (one of few in US to achieve all 3 rigorous certifications related to human communications, personality & behavior).
Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and hosts a radio show in Atlanta (Marketing Matters). He is author of the best-selling books Everyone is in Sales and Would You Buy from You? More info at: RyanSauers.com