Why you need to try it now.
“If I had just taken the time to think before I spoke.” How many times have you said that to yourself? Maybe it was after saying something regretful or after not knowing what to say until 20 minutes after the person ended the conversation. We’ve all been there.
If only you knew how to effectively pause when conflict rears its head. Yes, I know you think your technique is effective. Someone once told you not to let them get a word in edgewise and if you pause, then they will get in there and win the argument. Maybe you see pausing as weak and showing a lack of confidence in what you are saying.
The reality is, learning how to use the power of the pause can help you through some difficult conversations and make many conversations easier.
I talked about silence and how to use it effectively, now throw in a pause or two and you have created a gateway to better understanding. When you understand better, you can direct your responses to what the conflict is actually about rather than going back and forth without ever talking about what the issues, content, and feelings really are.
Pausing is a simple concept that can have a giant impact and it is not easy. First off, you have to remind yourself to pause in the conversation. The pause is your best move when:
- You feel yourself getting heated
- You can’t believe what you are hearing
- You feel pressure to agree
- You are about to say something that you will regret
- You are unsure of what to do next
Just stop and take inventory:
- What do I understand them to say?
- What feelings are being triggered for me?
- What is this really about for them?
- What clues are they giving about what is actually bothering them?
- How do I say what I need to say?
Take the time together with yourself and your thoughts. Do not rush it. Make sure you let them know that you are choosing to pause to consider some things. Hopefully, a minute or two will bring you the answers you need. If not, you may need to put the conversation on pause for a day so that everyone can bring fresh thoughts to it.
Take some time to practice in a conversation that is not high stakes. Even if you have already gathered your thoughts, take a 30 second pause before you share them.
PAUSE. REFLECT. SPEAK.
PAUSE. REFLECT. SPEND SOME TIME IN SILENCE. QUESTION. SPEAK.
PAUSE. REFLECT. QUESTION. LET THEM SPEAK.
PAUSE. REFLECT. BREATHE… THEN DECIDE WHAT TO DO NEXT.
All good ways to use this power that you now have. I can’t wait for you to put it to good use. I’m right there with you.
Let’s try it now…