“Listening looks easy, but it’s not simple. Every head is a world.” — Cuban Proverb
“Big egos have little ears.” — Robert Schuller
So you say you want to listen longer without interrupting and better tune into what your colleagues are saying? Well, bite your tongue…for 17 seconds.
Unpacking mental models [Oh, I can just see John Bausch rolling his eyes at that terminology] – or taking the new information that you just heard and fitting it into the existing stuff in your head – can take 17 seconds or longer.
I further practiced being quiet for 17 second intervals this month. If I wanted to say something, I stopped and continued listening. [One of the effective change leaders I work with, Mike McGlinn, calls this RTUTS – Resist The Urge To Speak.]
The result? I can give you quality measures, not quantity measures, of employing this tactic:
Not bad results to report for an organizational change. And, because of these results, our more quantitative program metrics increased significantly as well.
*I realize that the last two bullet points may be perceived by some as a bit sappy, but it usually takes sap vs. smarts to glue a team, a group, a department, an organization together.
ACTION: Shush for 17 seconds and listen! And have a nice day.