Power of the Pause
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. And in that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lives our growth and our freedom” – Viktor Frankl
Our world isn’t slowing down anytime soon, we are an over stimulated society. Do you ever find yourself searching for a moment of quiet? You have the power to press the pause button and discover that the old saying is true, silence is golden. Using the power of the pause will improve your communication skills both personally and professionally.
When I was in my early 20’s living in Texas I tried working in sales. I assumed because I loved talking to anyone and everyone, I would be an instant success! Unfortunately, I bombed…BIG TIME. It wasn’t until I read every sales training book I could get my hands on that I realized my enthusiasm and over excitement for selling was actually getting in my way. I wasn’t taking the time to truly listen to my customers. Applying the power of the pause opened the door so I could have the success I longed for.
- Stop to consider what you just heard. You know that feeling when you can’t wait for the other person to stop talking so you can get out all those words that have been spinning in your brain? STOP and PAUSE you need to practice active listening. Don’t just hurry up with a response until you have really heard what was said. Instead pause ask a question based on what they just said. They will feel more respected and satisfied with the conversation.
- Ask one question at a time. When you ask someone a question, pause for at least 10 seconds… 20 or 30 if needed and wait for an answer. Being quick witted here will work against you. Even if the dead air makes you uncomfortable, try not to jump in too quickly and speak sooner then you should.
- Listen, listen and listen some more. Excellent listeners are masters of the pause and great communicators. Practice active listening. Identity people in your life that are great listeners. How do they make you feel?
- Never ever, EVER respond when you are angry. When you feel yourself about to respond out of anger STOP and PAUSE. Ask yourself, “will anything good come out of what I am about to say?” If the answer’s no, then keep your words to yourself.
- Slow down. Do you get over excited about a topic and start to over share? This can overwhelm and confuse your audience. When you take the time to let your message be well thought out you will be rewarded! Faster is not always better.
- Breathe. Taking a deep slow breath is proven to add oxygen to our brain which helps us think more clearly. Over the next 30 days, practice the pause by taking moments out of your day to breathe deeply.
- Pause before you hit send. When responding to emails or texts you need to take the emotion out of it before you hit send. If you need to express your emotions, free write your thoughts on a word document. Wait 30 minutes to re-read it and revise if needed. You may realize that you don’t even need to send it after all.
Do not underestimate how powerful a good pause can be. Seize the moment and genuinely take in what is happening around you. Apply my seven easy steps and hit your own pause button! CLICK HERE to listen to my Power of the Pause podcast episode