Challenge Day 22 – Pause Before You Talk, Text, Post, or Email
It’s too easy to let your emotions lead you on a path straight down the tubes, and inevitably twenty-four hours later you often-times regret what you sent and or said. The biggest problem however, is that once you’ve put those words out there, you cannot take them back.
You cannot get away from anything you’ve said and you cannot take it back. Words can hurt another person’s feeling, make you look like an imbecile, and ruin relationships. So before you blurt out the first thing that comes to your mind, take a second and pause. Use that pause to consider your communication goal (what are you trying to convey), the future consequences of your comments, and whether or not you will have a change of heart or opinion within the next couple days…then respond. Your words become your representative. If they are in text, recorded on video, and/or etched into another person’s mind they can work to destroy your image, ruin relationships, and even get you fired. Pauses are dramatic, powerful, and they give you time to be smart instead of emotional. So use them!
Pausing creates powerful moments filled with mystery, anticipation, and it gives you a chance to think. During an argument or a disagreement a pause allows you to make sure the other person has finished and that you are not interrupting.
Recently I ordered a custom sofa from a tiny warehouse in what’s known in Los Angeles as Korea Town. They sent the sofa to my home three times with a different furniture ailment each time. The first time the foldout couch didn’t come out, the second time it made a metal clanking sound each time I sat on it, and the third time a piece of the sofa was falling off. So I asked the delivery men to tell the shop owner that I would be coming in to speak to them about the couch the following day.
The next day after taping the first two shows of the show The Doctors, I asked one of the runners to take me to the shop. My goal was to get my $600 cash deposit back and I was all too aware of the fact that they were not going to want to give it to me. I told them it was such poor business to send a ‘poor quality’ couch to my place three times. I let him go on and on about how the couch was custom and they couldn’t refund my money….I could’ve yelled and cussed them out and told them what a terrible place it was, and ruined the relationship with the shop owner, but instead I stayed focused on my goal of getting my money back.
After he finished, I looked at him, paused, shook my head and strategically said, “I do not think you can dispute the fact that the couch was defective and constructed using ‘poor quality.’ I believe you should just give me a refund so that this defective couch doesn’t become a bigger issue for you.” Then I paused and looked down. The runner I brought with me was standing behind me, a very handsome young gentleman (by the way, he kept his sunglasses on the whole time). The guy went to his business partner and they materialized my $600. I used silence and pauses more than I used my voice, and within fifteen minutes, I had my $600 deposit back!
We rushed to the car and giggled the whole way back to the studio. I of course gave him 10% because without his sunglasses and silent demeanor, the operation might have taken an hour!
So before you send out that impulsive email, respond to the text that made you feel some kind’ve way, or speak to someone who has already agitated you, take time to pause. There’s more power in the pause than there is in an impulse!
Use that pause to consider: What message are you trying to convey? What are the future consequences of your comments? Will you will have a change of heart or opinion within the next couple days? Do you want your response to ruin the relationship?…then respond.
So on this day and on every day of the #30DaySuccessChallenge, Pause before you talk, text, email, and post! Thank me later : )