Engaging in Conversation? W.A.I.T.
Recently on #kaizenblog (a hashtag Twitter chat), we were talking about how knowing your core competencies can improve your business messaging. As with any conversation about communication, people started discussing the art of listening. That’s when Eric Tsai (@designdamage) shared some advice from his mentor, “My mentor’s best advice when engaging in conversation: W.A.I.T. Why Am I Talking?”
Conversations are supposed to be two-way events. Business owners are in conversations with customers, peers, prospects, vendors, employees and many other people every day. Who were you talking with today? Sometimes we get sidetracked by accident. A person could be tired or distracted and just not have the capacity to stop. Other times people fall in love with their ideas, the sound of their voices, or just not have the
social skills to focus beyond themselves. There are even times when we are so nervous that we get carried away and keep talking.
Reconnecting your brain to your mouth
We know that our brains can get disconnected from our mouths. Sometimes emotions hijack us (anger and anxiety are the most common culprits) and we stop thinking clearly. It happens. Maybe it’s not the way we really want to conduct ourselves and yes, active listening skills are important. However, there is one piece here that may help you reconnect your brain to your mouth even before you find yourself babbling away.
Take time to W.A.I.T.
What would happpen if we entered conversations with an intent? This is where our emotional intelligence serves us.
- Know why you are in the conversation-Take time ahead of the conversation to identify the purpose of the conversation. Identify who you are talking to and your agenda for having the conversation.
- Identify the triggers that derail your usual good communication skills. Sometimes it can be simply the time of day. Some of us are morning people while others are more alert later in the day. If you are entering a high pressure situation, use relaxation techniques or other healthy coping mechanisms to keep your emotions in check so you don’t cloud your message.
What will your business gain by using W.A.I.T.?
Perhaps the biggest gain is a business leader who is a calm and collected communicator who listens. Remember people love to be acknowledged. If you remember something they said to you, they will feel like you really saw them as a person. Listening skillfully also means we can tailor our products or services to suit our customer or know when they are not a good fit. When we stop talking, we are able to pick up information that will make our businesses stronger.
When do you use W.A.I.T?
What other tips do you have that make using W.A.I.T. more powerful?