Recently I broke the law. I’ve done it a few times and I’m not proud of it. I need to stop. I have a habit of rolling through the stop sign in my subdivision. I know I need to stop, but it’s near a dead-end street so what’s the point? The point is, I need to stop! There are consequences if I don’t.
I find myself asking clients to stop multiple times when we prepare for interviews or discussions with a team member or a boss. The tendency for most is to ramble when things are uncomfortable, yet the art of knowing when to stop can open opportunities.
The other day I changed my habit and when I stopped at the stop sign, I noticed a neighborhood girl with a lemonade stand on the other street. Because I stopped, I noticed my surroundings and gave a smile and a few bucks to a young blossoming entrepreneur, which benefitted us both.
In business, when you respond to questions for an interview or in a meeting, try to stop and take a pause before answering. This gives you time to think so you can respond appropriately. Then, once you respond, take another pause and ask the person you’re conversing with to confirm you’re on the right track. This is known as a pivot. It gives the other person a chance to interject or re-direct the conversation without interrupting you. It’s a courtesy to them and it helps you to be sure you’re on the right path to continue.
Some people are uncomfortable with silence and feel a need to fill the gap with words. Contrary to that belief, I’d like you to consider the rejuvenation it can bring if you allow for it. Here are four simple ways to S.T.O.P. and make progress.