“I’m wondering what you were thinking when you wrote that post on Facebook?”
“I was outraged!”
“What were you trying to accomplish?”
“To express my outrage…and for release.”
“Did that work?”
“What do you mean, did that work?”
“Did you get the release?”
“Did the people you want to impact with your leadership get the right message?”
“Well, I wasn’t directing it at them.”
“Really? Whom were you directing it at?”
“Well, the world. Some things are just plain wrong and people need to speak up.”
“Okay, but let me ask you again. What were you trying to accomplish, and did it work?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“Let’s take your followers on Facebook. You posted something yesterday that outraged you.”
“What were you hoping your followers would think?”
“I wasn’t concerned about what my “followers” would think. I just wanted to express my feelings.”
“Did that work?”
“What do you mean did that work?”
“I mean, what do you think your followers thought about you—your cause and the organization you represent?”
“But…that wasn’t what I was worried about!”
“Oh, and do you think that works? Tell me what was intentional/strategic about your post.”
“I wasn’t meaning to be strategic.”
“Can you afford NOT to be strategic?”
We don’t live in a world anymore where impulsiveness pays. In fact, the world is quite the opposite. We live in a world where every word and deed counts toward how people perceive us: as leaders or losers.
What does it cost you if only one person reads your ranting post and disapproves? Possibly nothing. Unless that person is a potential next boss, current boss who will write your next evaluation or anyone that might be important in your future life. You have just lost a vote—and it could be the deciding one— that could blackball your future hopes and dreams.
Extreme? I don’t think so. We also live in a world where time is precious and people tend to skim, get an impression and move on. If that person is skimming what you wrote and gets a negative impression, you don’t get a second chance. He or she may stop reading what you are writing, tell others you are a jerk and rule against you when they have influence on a board, job or even club you want to join.
Need an emotional outlet? Join a gym, but don’t rant. Instead, sign up for Toastmasters and practice refining your rant into something strategic or influential. But do not, under any circumstances, write, speak or act without thinking about the consequences and who your audience is.
Otherwise, you could be blackballed for something precious that you want, and never know the reason why.