Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Intentional Awkward Pause

The Intentional Awkward Pause is a very effective tool in becoming a better listener and conversationalist. Usually we try to avoid awkward silences at every chance, but here's a way to become comfortable with pauses and use them to our advantage.
So often we think we are listening, but we're not. We have a person talking to us, voices in our minds talking to us, opinions blaring about this or that, all the while our friend thinks they have our full attention. It can be tricky to fully pay attention to someone, especially when you are bored with what they are saying or if you are so excited you can't keep your mouth shut.

Have you ever been in a situation where someone was telling you something you could completely relate to and after every sentence you wanted to interject with an excited agreement or point of advice?
This is where the IAP comes in handy. Here's how it works:

A person is talking to you and once done with their sentence they pause. (This is where you would normally come in.) Instead of saying something right away, intentionally wait ~3 seconds before replying. By not saying anything right away, the person speaking might continue to open up to you. They might realize the solution to their problem on their own, or feel a desire to connect to you deeper because they can feel you are listening. This gives you the chance to see them, not just for what they are saying but how they are saying it, the emotions underlying their words.

For me, using this tool keeps me patient and present in the conversation. It makes me appreciate the other person's expression and their perspective rather than force my own onto them.
I suggest you try it and see what happens, comment below if you see any differences in your interactions ^_^

I found this cool trick from a woman on YouTube named Marie Forleo. She has a show called MarieTV where she talks about creating a life and business that you love! Check her out!

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