How to use a pause

When faced with any sort of personal/professional confrontation:

  1. First of all, Pause.  There’s no need to respond immediately.  Wait for a few moments (till it’s uncomfortable!)
  2. Using active listening techniques, seek clarification by summarising, e.g. “So, let me see if I’ve understood you correctly.  You’re saying…….is that correct?”.  This buys you time and allows the other person(s) to back-down or correct themselves.
  3. Deflect the attack, if appropriate.  Looking around the room say,”What does anyone else think about that?”
  4. Look for anything that you could possibly agree with, or at least acknowledge that, “Some people might say that”. This shows you’ve heard what the other person has said and can see some potential merit in it.  However, you are not necessarily concurring with it. 
  5. If necessary, call for a time-out, e.g. “we’ve been talking for over an hour, let’s take 5 minutes”
  6. Hope this helps!


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