Walking the Talk is a whole lot harder than simply saying things we have no intention of doing or that we may not even believe, that is, just Talking the Talk.
Almost anyone can talk the talk, given the innate or acquired courage to do so. The rest of us often find ourselves muttering, Yeah, Yeah! under our breath while someone else is spouting off in a meeting. If we think we can get away with it, some of us may even roll our eyes.
Do we know the speaker well enough to realize his actions never match his words? That he never follows through with actions or the actions are reprehensible?
It doesn’t seem to matter what the venue is, so let’s just say a meeting is usually where a group of people have come together to talk about an issue of some kind or to plan an event. One-on-one meetings can be dicier, ranging from friendly checking in with an employee to firing the person.
Sometimes the leader is giving directions or asking for suggestions. Usually he or she is asking sincerely, though all relatively mature adults have run into those who are trying to identify future troublemakers. No way are we going to speak up if we think or know that’s what’s going on. We are simply not that stupid, Houston. Or we don’t care enough about the organization to improve its environment after receiving some pretty shabby treatment within it.
What is Walking the Talk?
Sometimes a person will say Walking the Walk but that’s not nearly as powerful as Walking the Talk. We want people to practice what they preach. This may be especially true when we’re preaching to the choir, that is, to those people who already agree with the point we’re trying to make.
We are always on display and someone is always looking to see if our behavior matches what we said in church last week. We need to walk the talk.
Even when we’re looking at our possible final year in the so-called working world, we generally don’t want to throw our co-workers under the bus. Outside of that, we may well be more outspoken than in the past, simply because we now have our rubber ducks in a row. We know where we’re going, how we’re going to get there, and all contingencies are allowed for. We’re prepared, sister!
Employers sometimes expect us to share our knowledge, even when doing so forecasts the loss of our own positions. This includes being forced to train an obvious replacement overseas and getting fired on the spot when we decline to do so. There is nothing ethical about an employer’s behavior in that situation. Nothing.
Some people expect us to share our knowledge because it will be of great benefit to others or smooth their paths through rocky roads we have already traveled. There is great wisdom and charity in doing this. It is a kindness. Plus, if we share and improve our talents, other talents will be added to our own. See the Parable of the Talents in the King James Version of the Holy Bible.
Of course, there can be a downside to sharing knowledge when it isn’t done with humility. We may well come across as a know-it-all. So much depends on our attitude and our tone when delivering that knowledge to others who might know less than we do about a topic, or who already know a whole lot more. But it’s a genuine reason (along with others) for remaining silent on many occasions. No one likes a know-it-all, and rightly or wrongly, any of us can be interpreted as being one if we so much as open our mouth.
Overall, Walking the Talk is the way we’d all like to be remembered.