Career Advice

Using The THINK Acronym at Work

By: Mariah Rogers
Feb 11, 2021 • 6 min read

You Should Be Using The THINK Acronym at Work – Here’s Why

The communication style on a team can make or break a workplace. Effective teams rely on helpful and productive communication! Without it, things can get messy. Projects might not be completed by their deadline, feedback won’t be given accordingly, and feelings can get hurt, causing turmoil amongst group members. When everyone has different work styles, it can be challenging to find a method of communication that works for everyone. This is why using the THINK acronym is so helpful when speaking with colleagues! Try it out for yourself and see if this method might be one your team could benefit from.

woman placing sticky notes on wall

Maintaining Good Relationships in The Workplace

Having a bad relationship with a coworker, manager, or customer can make your time at work feel very unproductive. When personalities and beliefs clash, it can be hard to get anything done! Maintaining good relationships with those you work with will help you be more successful as a professional and benefit your reputation down the line. How you talk to people is everything!

Have you ever looked up to a manager or boss and were amazed by their ability to effectively communicate with just about anyone? This is a talent that won’t come naturally. It actually takes a lot of effort to achieve this! Those who are able to speak with anyone and achieve tangible results from a conversation are likely using components of the THINK acronym when they converse. This method serves as a gentle yet effective reminder to think before you speak, something that is much easier said than done!

Maintaining good relationships in the workplace is all about establishing mutual respect between those you communicate with on a daily basis. The THINK acronym will help you keep your conversations positive, appropriate, and productive, so you can get more out of your interactions with others.

What Does the THINK Acronym Stand For?

We’re glad you asked! The THINK acronym is a simple and straightforward method that will help you guide conversations in a positive and productive direction. Let’s break it down and examine each part individually.

“T” in THINK

T – Is it true?

How true is the statement you are about to share with your colleague? Is it factual, or are you speaking out of an emotion? This is an important question to consider when communicating information to those you work with/work for. Allowing your personal feelings to get mixed up into conversation can hinder the effectiveness of your statements. In order to focus on clear and direct communication, make sure to include true and factual information in your speech.

Before THINK: The data shows that the marketing ads have been effective at attracting new customers. But I personally don’t think they are very effective because I am not a big fan of cartoons.

After THINK: The data shows that the marketing ads have been effective at attracting new customers. From the day we released the ads onward, sales have gone up 42%.

two women using laptops

“H” in THINK

– Is it helpful?

Is the information you are communicating helpful to the receiver? Is it relevant to the current conversation you are having? If the statement you are saying doesn’t help your current situation, it can make your conversation unproductive. Staying on-topic when speaking to a coworker or manager will help you come across as more prepared and knowledgeable about the situation at hand.

It can be difficult to identify what information is important enough to share! Try to ask yourself if the information you are planning on sharing will help your overall project advance and develop further.

Before THINK: Since the marketing ads worked so well on Facebook, why don’t we try them on Instagram, too!

After THINK: Since the marketing ads worked so well, let’s start talking about another topic and move on.

“I” in THINK

I – Is it inspiring?

If you have something that is inspiring, share it! Motivating others is a major factor that contributes to an effective conversation. Inspiring others with your words and ideas is the key to brainstorming and being creative. Will your comment help someone else come up with a new idea or a possible way to build off of your thought? If so, share it!

Before THINK: This project is way too challenging for our team. Maybe we should just give up and work on something else until our boss forgets about this deliverable.

After THINK: I know this project has been really challenging for a lot of us. But I know with more time and everyone’s continued effort combined, we can do this!

think acronym

“N” in THINK

N –Is it necessary?

Is your comment necessary for moving the conversation forward? Or will it distract from the importance of the task at hand? Making sure that any insight you offer when communicating with others is necessary before speaking. This will help keep the conversation on-track!

Before THINK: I know we just finished this project and have a lot of other assignments to complete before tomorrow’s deadline, but I think we should keep working on this project even though it is done since it’s more fun!

After THINK: Now that we have finished this project, let’s move onto the next one since we have so much to accomplish before tomorrow’s deadline.

“K” in THINK

K – Is it kind?

This is arguably the most important component of the THINK acronym method. If someone involved in a workplace conversation is offended or gets their feelings hurt, it is hard to continue having a productive conversation. It is always important to be kind, even if you are offering a rebuttal to an argument or statement said by one of your colleagues. This helps to form and maintain an element of mutual respect within the workplace. Without respect, no one would give conversations the consideration they deserve! Respect is fundamental to forming a strong foundation for any team.

Before THINK: I liked your presentation, but because you are a bit inexperienced, it was challenging to stay engaged because you were a little boring to listen to.

After THINK: I really liked your presentation! I could tell you put a lot of thought and effort into each individual slide, and it really showed. Have you talked to Dan in the HR department? He is known for giving super engaging presentations, and I think you too, would be able to collaborate well together!

think acronym

THINK Before You Speak

Have you ever heard the saying, “Think before you speak”? The THINK acronym embodies the meaning of this statement! It can be challenging to think before we speak, especially in a fast-paced work environment. Sometimes, it can feel as though coming up with an answer as fast as possible is better than conjuring up the best possible response.

Thinking on your feet can be stressful. But don’t panic! Try to run your thoughts through the THINK acronym prior to speaking. This will help your thoughts sound more put-together, organized, effective, and respectful.

Does Every Conversation Have to Follow Each Letter in the Acronym?

While it would be nice for every component of your conversation to follow all letters in the THINK acronym, it is not always possible to perfectly align with this method. Although you should try your very best to be consistent with the acronym, you can allow yourself some flexibility when it comes to forming an effective communication style when conversing with others in the workplace. This method simply serves as a guide for navigating situations where you are unsure of how to properly convey a thought or feeling.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try starting with just a few letters of the acronym. For example, you can begin by starting with “H” and “K.” Simply making sure that your statements are both helpful and kind will allow you to go far in developing an effective communication style!

If your statement is both helpful and kind, you will notice that your message will be received and implemented more effectively. That’s the power of the THINK acronym method at work!

think acronym

Implementing the THINK Acronym in Your Workplace

Implementing the THINK acronym into your own life is more than possible, but persuading others to join in can be a challenge! If you’re a manager or team leader, incorporating this method into your workplace will do wonders, and is definitely worth the extra effort. Your team will be more productive and collaborate better because of it! Try to speak with your employees and team members face-to-face when trying to introduce new strategies. This will help the conversation feel more sincere and they will be more likely to use THINK!

It is likely that many of your employees are visual learners. In fact, studies have shown that 65% of people are visual learners! So, posting graphics and other visual aids around your workplace might remind employees to THINK before they speak. You can check out some of our infographics, here!

THINK More, Blabber Less.

So, as you continue having conversations in the workplace or virtually if that’s your current preference, consider implementing THINK into your professional life! You’ll be a more effective manager, a better-respected employee, and build trust between your colleagues.

This method can also be used to strengthen personal friendships amongst your family, friends, or significant other. You’ll be surprised what a little extra kindness and truth can do for a conversation, even at home! Next time you’re feeling the heat, be sure to THINK before you say something you might regret.

Have you ever used the THINK acronym when communicating in the workplace? If so, let us know in the comments! We would love to hear from you.

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