I have learned to take a pause.
George, the CFO of a multi-billion dollar business, says this to me last week. George is strategy-smart, results-driven, supremely successful. George has also been accused of losing his temper with folks and pushing too hard.
We’re not talking big life-pause here. We’re talking a mini conversational pause. A momentary break in a relentless charge-fast verbal rhythm.
When I take a pause, George elaborates, I am better able to focus on the outcome I desire for the conversation I’m in.
Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Except that in the very moment when it behooves us to pause, we tend to not remember. Instead, we drive too fast. We wreck the car.
Not obvious. Not easy at all.
A pause may be quick. A split-second. A mini-moment to catch a breath, no more.
In a pause, I don’t rush blindly into the next moment.
In a pause, I catch myself.
In a pause, I absorb what my conversation partner said.
In a pause, I sink deeper.
Think of it as the pause-paradox: The more you pause, the more you accelerate success in your conversation. The moment when you pause is what creates the win, not the long stretch when you talk.
It seems like such a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Except that we forget. DON’T. Don’t just pause because you have run out of steam. Make pausing a habit. Not the pregnant pause, not the dramatic pause. No, the purposeful pause. The pause before you speak. The pause before you shift gears. The pause when you consider what you heard.
Go ahead, apply this mental re-programming: In a conversation, a pause is a win. A pause is a win. A pause is a win. The more I pause, the more I get done. The more I pause, the more I get done.
The gifts of the pause are endless. I catch my breath. I stay conscious. I start to relish my conversation. I sink deeper.
This week, no car wrecks. Practice a bit of speed control. Remember, a pause is where you create success. How very cool is that!