Thoughts + Articles

Think Before You Speak

During World War II posters read “Careless Words May Cause Disaster” and “Loose Lips Sink Ships”. Have you ever wanted to take back the words you have spoken? That’s why you want to “think before you speak!”

Under cover of darkness, 10-year-old Louis and his family climbed aboard a ship in the Baltic Sea, heading to America.

They were fleeing pogroms, rape, looting, and murder, instituted under the regime of Russian Czar Nicholas the II in the early 20th century.

Louis and his family fled with just the clothes on their backs. They came to America, the land of opportunity where you have the right to religious freedom to worship as you choose.

Louis did not finish elementary school in America. He immediately had to go to work to help support his family. He worked hard, learned to speak perfect English, became well read, and wrote to relatives all over the world to see how they were doing every month.

I know so much about this young man, Louis Charles Frank, because he was my Grandfather. He used to say to his grandchildren in his deep voice; “I came from Russia in a covered wagon.” Of course Grandfather was teasing us as he came to America by ship. Grandfather enjoyed taking us to the park to feed the ducks and geese and always had a ready supply of bread.

One day I was visiting my Grandfather at his real-estate office when an associate came in and said something negative about someone else in Grandfather’s presence.

My Grandfather replied, “He speaks well of you!”

The man paused and said, “You are right, Louis. I need to think about what I’m going to say before I open my mouth.”

My grandfather built a solid and successful business upon the belief that if you spoke well of others, they would speak well of you.

I always enjoyed visiting with my Grandfather; he always saw the good in others. He did not engage in gossip, and did not tolerate it! He believed in making it easier for people to see the positive and good in others.

“As a child I listened to Grandfather and did not engage in gossip and did not tolerate it either.”

 Grandfather lived by 3 rules:

1) Be judicious about what you say. Use good judgment when you talk to others.

2) Say something nice.

3) Give everyone a sincere compliment every day. 

Grandfather taught me to “Think before I spoke.”

Fred Smith, Sr., leadership guru, the mentor of   Zig Ziglar and Dr. John Maxwell shares the following story in his article, “Breakfast with Fred”:

Fred said, “Years ago I was asked to be interim music director for a small church in suburban Nashville.” After agreeing “the pastor asked me to sign a covenant stating I would not criticize anyone while I was there. I agreed to do it almost as an experiment, for it was so contrary to my general disposition.  After a few months I realized I never felt more community than I did there.  As I look back, I realize it was the fact of refusing to say anything negative about anyone that made the difference.  I could face any person there with complete freedom because I had never said a hurtful word about anyone.”

Fred Smith, Sr. learned to “Think before he spoke.”

Mark Twain said, “I can live for two months on a good compliment.”

At 16, I played in my first master class on the violin. A master class is when a musical artist, an expert, comes in and listens to exceptional students play and makes suggestions to improve the musician’s performance. The master class was for two hours.

I was scared out of my wits. Mr. G, the expert who gave the class, demoralized ever person that played for him, by saying nasty things to each performer taking away their dreams and hopes for the future. It took me many months to get over Mr. G.

Many years latter I was asked to give masterclasses in China, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the U.S. I first have the talented students play the piece through , lead the audience in applause, then give the student playing an honest sincere compliment, and then focus on one thing that they can immediately do to make the piece better!

Students improved on the spot! After each master class, while I was cleaning and putting away my instrument, a line formed of students who had not performed in the  master class wanting help with their piece. I spent a few minutes with each student giving suggestions.

Remember Mary Poppins “A spoon fool of sugar makes the medicine go down.” It really does! Mary Poppins understood about “thinking before she spoke .”

Dr. Maxwell Maltz“, plastic surgeon, said, “it requires a minimum of about 21 days for an old mental image to dissolve and a new one to jell.”  He wrote in 1960 “Psycho Cybernetics” on behavioral change and sold over 30 million books and audio books.

So how can you learn to “think before you speak”? Take your seven Day Challenge”!

1) “Every day pay an honest compliment to each of three different persons. Keep a record of those to whom you pay your three complements. And observe what they say in response to your complement.” Dr. George W. Crane

2) “Within the first 30 seconds of a conversation, say something encouraging to the other person.” Dr. John C. Maxwell

3) Every evening think up 3 “honest compliments”.

By following these three rules the world around you will change for the better in 7 Days! And you will learn to think before you speak!



Madeline Frank, Ph.D., DTM is an Best Selling Author, John Maxwell Team Member, Certified World Class Speaking Coach, sought after speaker, business owner, teacher, researcher, and concert artist. She helps businesses and organizations “Tune Up their Businesses”. Her innovative observations show you the blue prints necessary to improve and keep your business successful. She writes a monthly newsletter “Madeline’s Monthly article & Musical Tips Blog” and a monthly radio show “Madeline’s One Minute Musical Radio Show”. Her book “Leadership On A Shoestring Budget” is available on Amazon or Kindle. Contact Madeline Frank for your next speaking engagement at



This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 21st, 2016 at 12:35 am and is filed under Articles. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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