Why Am I Talking? The Power of W.A.I.T.
Talk is constant and pretty “cheap” these days. Anyone, anywhere, anytime can post a comment on the many social media sites and talk, talk, talk. There are over 60 billion social media posts per day and the average person spends 140 minutes each day on social media!
But W.A.I.T. and ask yourself: “Why Am I Talking?”
We recently heard this acronym and smiled. We like acronyms that help us remember a concept or new habit we want to develop. (TED* is an acronym for The Empowerment Dynamic, which helps remind us each day to live an empowering life!)
A few months ago, we purchased a new refrigerator—our first major appliance purchase in our 15-year marriage. We planned a shopping day and experienced different approaches to selling and listening. Some were subtle—and not so subtle—encounters of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT).
Looking back, we wish the first couple of places we shopped had practiced the W.A.I.T. principle!
We met one young man who admitted it was his first week selling. He talked non-stop about what he was learning and what he looks for when he purchases a large appliance. In a subtle way, he appeared victimized by his own sense of insecurity. His incessant chattering took over the conversation and didn’t ask about our needs.
In another case, we felt victimized by the stereotypical “box store” with nobody available to assist us. We walked up and down the isles looking for someone that could answer our questions. When we approached someone at the counter they said: “Pull your truck around and we’ll load it for you.” Their statement made no sense since we had yet to decide what to buy!
Our hope was that we would visit a few stores, learn about new refrigerators and get the support we needed.
Finally, at another store we experienced an empowering and engaging salesperson that treated us as Creators. He asked helpful questions and listened deeply. We felt seen, heard, and appreciated. (No surprise, we bought our new refrigerator from him.) This salesperson “sold” us by being a Coach in the way of TED*, helping us clarify our needs and desires. We later realized he W.A.I.T.ed. We did most of the talking—not him.
If you are unconscious to the reason you are talking, you can easily go reactive to the moment and blurt out the first words that come to your mind and probably step right into either the Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer DDT roles.
Instead of unconsciously talking, take a moment before you post on social media or speak and ask yourself:
W.A.I.T—Why Am I Talking?
- Am I talking for approval and to be overly helpful? (Rescuer)
- Am I talking to control and take charge of the situation? (Persecutor)
- Are you talking to complain and report all that you don’t like? (Victim)
Many of our behaviors are habitual and probably none more so than talking. Having tools to support you to pause and think about the way you are thinking and talking is one of the bonuses of the TED* frameworks.
Here are a few reflective questions to ask yourself before you leap into a conversation:
- What is my intention behind what I am about to say?
- What question can I ask that would help me better understand what the other person is saying?
- Is my need to talk an attempt to divert the attention to me?
- How might I become comfortable with silence rather that succumb to my urge to talk?
If we all did a little more W.A.I.T.ing and a little less talking, we believe this world would be a more empowering and co-creative place to live.