I keep coming back to a tweet I read month ago. It said we should “W.A.I.T.” and ask ourselves, “why am I talking?” Some of us may interpret this as another way to say “think before you speak” or “engage your brain before you engage your mouth” but I think it’s taking it one step further.
W.A.I.T first asks you to hold off on speaking until you’ve thought about things but it also asks you a valuable question: why am I talking? What is your goal? In many settings there are two solid goals: you want a call to action and/or you want people to agree with you.
Meeting settings are arguably one of the most important places to effectively communicate. In reality, often times meetings are chaotic with ideas being thrown around, people whispering to their neighbors, people interrupting one another and everyone feeling an urgency to participate. The next time you’re in a meeting W.A.I.T. Genuinely listen and interpret what’s going on. Less is more so think about the most important point you want to make and jot down some notes. In order to make your point more effective offer three supporting ideas.
My family is discussing how to spend their Saturday afternoon. After listening for a few minutes, I want to suggest we go swimming. My notes might look something like this:
- It’s convenient – the pool is in the backyard.
- It’s sunny & hot outside.
- We love to spend time outside, especially in the pool.
As ideas are being thrown on the table and people are underwhelmed and overwhelmed at the same time I calmly present my suggestion and my three supporting ideas. Imagine the response. When you W.A.I.T. you give yourself the opportunity to think about and prepare what you want to say before you engage in conversation & decision-making. You also give others a more completed idea to jump start a new conversation.
Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Elizabeth Pauker-Silva