We’re all moving through the day so quickly that it seems we barely have time for a proper conversation anymore. We’re so eager to keep moving that at a speaker’s first pause for breath, we jump in – ready to dispense advice or solve their problem.
This might be understandable if most people were looking for your advice. But, they’re aren’t. Deep down we know that, but it still hurts to hear, right?
Most people aren’t look for advice when they talk to you. They’re either blowing off steam, processing their own thoughts, or filling you in a situation. But it’s hard to recognize that when we’re in “go” mode.
Instead, try this: When someone pauses in conversation, count a full two seconds (a short, natural interval that will feel like eternity) before responding. Then ask, “What else?” and wait for their response. Rinse and repeat until they decide they’re finished.
This simple technique will let others finish their thoughts. It will reveal that you don’t need to jump in to “save the day” as much as you thought you did. And, it will help strengthen your relationships.
P.S. I’ve been learning and relearning this lesson my entire adult life. To paraphrase G.I. Joe, unfortunately, knowing is only half the battle.