Anyone who knows me knows that I like to talk. And I’ll admit it: I often talk too much. I may understand the adage two ears, one mouth, but there is a reason why I still need the reminder. Over time, I’ve seen how my tendency to jump in has affected others, and it’s not always great.
Which is why I love the Pause.
The Pause is a five-second inhale and exhale you take after the other person finishes talking. Simple concept, wonderful results. Three quick benefits:
1) The Pause gives the other person an opportunity to get at the deeper thoughts they have in their mind. In the normal ping-pong of a conversation, the deeper stuff can’t always find a way to jump in. The Pause gives the other person a chance to dig at the richness of thought that lies below niceties and surface-level conversation. The next comment or question they ask will be more thoughtful.
2) The Pause helps you reset before you start talking. It’s the “ready, set” before the “go” of your next statement. The precious breath gives oxygen to the lungs and time for your unconscious to process what they just said.
3) The Pause helps you connect with the other person. If music is the space between the notes, connection is the space between the words. People respect when you take in what they say. While five seconds may feel like an eternity while you’re doing it, there’s no awkwardness in receiving the Pause. It’s natural and will be appreciated.