The strategy itself is remarkably simple. It involves nothing more than pausing and taking a breath or two before you respond to someone who has just spoken to you. At first, the silent gap may seem like an eternity, but in reality, it amounts to only a fraction of a second of time.
Observe the conversations around you, you will notice that many of us are simply waiting for our chance to speak. We are not listening to others, but simply waiting for an opening and the opportunity to express our own viewpoint. Truly listening requires patience and discipline. Don’t miss the opportunity to hear what is being said because you are planning what to say next.
This harried form of communication encourages us to criticize points of view, overreact, misinterpret meaning, and form opinions, all before our fellow communicator is even finished speaking. No wonder we are so often annoyed, bothered, and irritated with one another. With our poor listening skills, it is a miracle that we have any friends at all! Are you listening? Does this ring a bell?
No need to worry that you won’t get your turn to speak, you will. In fact, it will be more rewarding to speak because the person you are speaking to will pick up on your respect and patience and will begin to do the same.
Portions taken from Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff, By Richard Carlson, Ph.D.