This essay originally ran in August of 2015. This “classic” is one of the most popular issues and has received a lot of comments, so thought we would share it again as a reminder to us all.
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 500 million tweets each day on Twitter alone.
But W.A.I.T. 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 that helps remind us each day to live an empowering life and The Power of TED* is full of acronyms!)
Two weeks ago we purchased a new car—our first in 12 years. Since we had not purchased a new car in a very long while, it was an opportunity to experience a wide range of talking and selling approaches as we visited several dealerships. Some were subtle – and not so subtle –encounters of the Dreaded Drama Triangle (DDT)™.
We met one young man who eventually admitted it was his first week of selling cars. He talked non-stop about his experiences with cars and what he looks for when purchasing a car himself. In a subtle way, he appeared victimized by his own sense of insecurity. He talked non-stop, chattering away and seemed powerless to know how to help us.
In another case we felt victimized by the stereotypical car salesman (i.e. Persecutor), who literally stood at the door with his manager, insisting that we couldn’t leave their dealership until they had a chance to give us a price on the old car we were trading.
Finally, at another dealership, we experienced an empowering, thoughtful and engaging sales person that treated us as Creators. He asked insightful and helpful questions and listened deeply. We felt seen, heard and appreciated. (No surprise, we bought our new car from him.) This sales person “sold” us by being a Coach in the way of TED* (*The Empowerment Dynamic)™, helping us clarify our needs and desires.
And, 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 mind and probably step right into either the Victim, Persecutor or Rescuer DDT role.
Instead of unconsciously talking, take a moment before you choose your words 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)
- Am I talking to complain and whine about all I don’t like? (Victim)
Many of our behaviors are habitual and probably none more so than talking. 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?
- Is there a question I could ask that would help me better understand what the other person is saying and perceiving?
- How might I simply listen and let go of my urge to talk in this moment?
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.