Getting a Word In Edgewise
“Just imagine I have big hair and a loud voice.” That’s how my niece Natasha introduced the comments she delivered on my behalf at a family function. That rascal!
“I guess that’s how she sees me,” I said to my husband, to which he replied: “It’s not just how she sees you; it’s how you are.”
Okay, good to know. I was aware of the big hair. The loud voice must have developed out of necessity while growing up in an Italian American household of six. As the youngest of four children, I can distinctly remember trying to get a word in edgewise at the dinner table. “Listen… Listen!” I’d say at increasing decibels. Finally everyone would silence. And then, my shyness would kick in. I had nothing. Those who know me now would say I’m making up for lost time.
I’ve been told I can tell a good story. That’s thanks to my Aunt Rose. I can also be a blurter, speaking before I think or more accurately, thinking as I speak. That comes along with my enthusiasm and passion, yet it’s something I’ve learned to keep in check –- to what degree depends on the situation.
How does all this reconcile with being a superlative coach and able to listen deeply even to what’s not being said? I’ve got no idea but somehow it works, since people do tell me I’m a very good listener.
WAIT = Why am I talking? I first heard this acronym during my coach training, along with a tip I still use to this day which is to actually hold my mouth closed when on the phone with someone and I’m feeling the urge to interrupt. Pretty funny, but it works!
Each of us wants to be heard and understood. It would serve us well –- and those around us -- to desire just as much to listen and understand another’s perspective.
When do you listen best? When does it come easily and when is it difficult? Perhaps certain personalities, coworkers, or friends come to mind, your children or your spouse. What can you learn from these observations?
This Week’s Call To Action:
- Use the WAIT acronym and make it an extra point to listen. Exaggerate your effort.
If you don’t need a lesson in listening, your development might have to do with speaking up a bit more often.
Finally, when you find yourself on the other end of the equation and someone cuts you off, try the line my father often used with good humor:
“Excuse me for talking while you’re interrupting.”
See you in the current,
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