“Never miss a good chance to shut up.”
Will Rogers | 1879 - 1935 | American entertainer & writer
In the fall of 2019, my wife and I became empty nesters. When Covid hit, it brought two college sons back in and things starting getting a little hot ;-) I'm sure many of you had and still have similar situations.
Even if your home situation hasn't put added pressure on the importance of good communication, you still get it. Communicating well is one of the kindest things we can do.
Linger on that a little. So many small things when we're communicating with someone can have a huge impact ... one way or the other. It deserves your 212 attention. (What's 212 attention?)
One idea to make it better (from the 'Model' section of my book Lead Simply) and then one fun idea we tried at the Parker house...
Have you ever considered how ridiculous it is to talk over someone?
Do you do it?
Ever cut someone off mid-sentence with...
- “I don't mean to interrupt but...”
- “Sorry to interrupt...”
- “Oh, hey, real quick...”
Ever just skip the lead-in and finish someone's sentence with your own paragraph?
Here's one way to correct it...
Commit yourself to dropping a small gap of silence between what someone else says ... and your response ... just an extra beat or two. You'll be amazed at what else you learn and the better connections you make.
If/When you catch yourself forgetting not to interrupt … stop and apologize. “I'm sorry. I cut you off. What were you saying?” Enjoy how it reinforces your future self-awareness.
A reminder that's helpful to me ... "Monopolize the listening." It's from David Schwartz's book 'The Magic of Thinking Big' (1959). I find the more I practice it, the more I love doing it.
The added Parker house exploration is below.
People in the Parker house talk a lot (it's one of the ways I eat). And, we're challenged with the gap of silence idea above just like everyone.
So, we decided to make a run at minimizing interruptions by saying 'Over' when we're finished talking ... like we're ending a walkie-talkie or radio transmission. (I'm serious. It's what I do.)
It didn't stick long but it gave us some laughs and insight on how often we interrupted each other.
A couple observations...
To hold the 'Over,' is an abuse of power and "Please say over" became the new interruption.
At one point when the boys started talking to each other in a side conversation, my wife drew their attention to it. "We're on a different radio channel," one responded.
In your practice to be a more enjoyable person, remember, a breath doesn't always indicate the end of a sentence or thought.
And that's all I have to say about that.
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