Think Before You Speak

John Quincy Adams had yet to become 6th president of the United States.  That would happen decades later.  He was a young man sent on a diplomatic mission to the Netherlands and wrote a love letter to his fiance, Louisa Catherine Johnson, waiting for him in England.



Listen in on how John woos Louisa:

February 28, 1797
I have always believed and still believe you to possess a virtuous heart, an intelligent mind, an accomplished person and a gentle disposition, all of which qualities contributed to inspire the strong affection which I have for you: but I never seriously believed or pretended that I believed you exempt from the common and universal imperfections of humanity; or from occasional errors of the mind, and varieties of temper.

She still married him. 

Would you?

When writing, we get the chance to reread what we wrote and improve it, making our meaning clear.  

Is this really how John thought he should write to the lady he asked to marry?

When speaking, we don't get the chance to go back and change what we say.

Often, the old saying is best:

If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.

Motivational speaker Sarita Maybin has a best selling book that guides us in our speaking in the workplace

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Joining Toastmasters will help you be a better off-the-cuff speaker.  You will improve making your self clear in a courteous manner, through the practice of answering unexpected questions at each weekly meeting.  Plus, it's fun!


If you want to hear more about John and Catherine Adam's contentious marriage in the years before their presidency, I recommend Michael O'Brien's book Mrs. Adams in Winter:  A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon.