Besides training ourselves to say only the truth, we should be able to choose what we should or should not say. If that truth is not useful to anyone, it should be left unsaid.
The Lord Buddha put the good speaking on the tenth factor in “The 38 Factors of Valuable Life” (Mangala Sutta), it is prophetic speaking.
Our words will become prophetic speaking when we practice these 5 factors:
1) Speak with kindness. Before speaking to anyone, ask ourselves first whether what we are going to say is of good intention or a bad one. If it is the latter, we shouldn’t say it.
2) Speak only of useful things. Ask ourselves whether it is useful for the listener or not. If it is not, don’t say it, as it will become raving.
3) Speak with politeness. Not only should we speak with kindness and usefulness, but should also with politeness. No one wants to listen to any impolite words, ourselves included. They may cause negative reactions afterwards.
4) Speak only the truth. If what we are going to say is not the truth, we shouldn’t say it. Apart from being call a liar, the Dhamma rules (precepts) will be broken. If we break the precepts we lose our usefulness.
5) Speak at the right time and the right place. Speaking at the wrong place and the wrong time may cause the speakers all kinds of trouble. For example, if we try to calm down an angry person with a weapon in his/her hand at the wrong time, in the worst case scenario it might cause us our lives.
Good speaking is not an easy thing to be properly done. If we are not sure whether we should say a certain thing or not, it is better to leave it unsaid.
Speaking well is an art in itself, it requires skilfulness and practice. The Lord Buddha has given us the guide line to follow. So before speaking to anyone, be mindful and check if what we are going to say follows those guide line.