Shut up and listen!
I once interrupted a great love of my life just as he was about to declare undying love for me… of course I’ll never know what his exact words were going to be.
The moment was lost and eventually so was he.
However – that split second decision to butt in changed everything and I’ve always remembered it.
I have the phrase ‘Shut up and listen’ on audio loop in my head now, especially at pivotal moments. The tendency to jump in and finish someone’s sentence or add your two pence-worth can be strong can’t it?
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve watched as someone in a group decides what they have to say simply can’t or won’t wait. They then either speak over the person talking, or seize the conversation, finishing sentences and grabbing a chance to demonstrate their own expertise at the expense of the speaker.
Yes, there’s a natural ebb and flow of a conversation but exercising a little more self-awareness together with a better awareness of others can stop us from doing this.
Interrupting is a rotten thing to do – the look on the face of the person being interrupted tells you all you need to know about how they feel right there in the moment.
And if you are constantly being interrupted, then of course it may be that you need to learn a few more assertiveness skills and develop more presence yourself.
Listening helps to make other people feel valued, affirmed and of significance. And that is a feeling that they won’t forget in a hurry. In your rapport-building toolkit, exceptional listening skills should be close at hand.
Stop. Swallow your words. Wait. Watch the person in front of you for signals they’ve finished.
Don’t let the deal/decision/job/client get away from you. (Or a great love for that matter!)
If you’d like help to improve the communication skills of you or your team, then get in touch and let’s talk. It’s one of the key skills needed for developing leadership presence. When other people look at you, do they see a leader?
I’m Susan Ritchie, a leadership coach, trainer and writer, helping leaders develop their presence and impact. My second book, Strategies for Being Visible:14 Profile-Raising Ideas for Emerging Female Leaders is due for publication January 25th 2019 and is now available to pre-order