Relationship Building Technique #3: Pause
We often don’t learn the value of listening techniques in building relationships. Consequently, people might not realize we are listening; this needs to occur to build relationships.
A pause is usually a short, silent break in an interaction of about ten seconds or less. However, it requires discipline to stay quiet, especially if you’re waiting for an answer or a reaction. Pauses give others thinking time, encourage others to talk and fill silence, and slow down a conversation to temper negative emotions.
We employ pauses by suggesting others take their time, asking for “a moment to think,” looking upward or to the side before responding, and incorporating thinking gestures such as:
- Connecting finger tips of both hands
- Hand to the chin
- A couple fingers over mouth
- Clasping hands
Some examples of pauses include:
- Silence before responding
- Asking, “Do you mind if I think about this a moment?”
- Allowing the listener time to think after asking a question
From a relational perspective, pauses convey the feeling that you are:
- Thoughtful, not thinking off the cuff
- Deliberate in decision making
- Not reciting some canned response or talk
- Patient in waiting for a response
- Not fearful of silence
- Willing to give others a quiet “space” to think
The effect of the pause is to encourage people to:
- Open up as they attempt to fill the quietness
- Cool down from heated remarks (good conflict management technique)
- Share more because you are giving thought to conversation
As simple as pauses seem, they are effective relationship buildings when integrated with other techniques. They encourage a more casual and friendly conversation. By demonstrating that you’re thinking about what others say; you convey that you’re listening too.
- Relationship Building Technique #1: Open-ended Questions
- Relationship Building Technique #2: Closed Questions
- Relationship Building Technique #3: Pause
- Relationship Building Technique #4: Acknowledgement
- Relationship Building Technique #5: Encouragement
- Relationship Building Technique #6: Synchronization
- Relationship Building Technique #7: Summarization
- Reflection Tip to Build Strong Relationships in Conversations
- Crash Course On Becoming A Better Conversationalist By Tomorrow
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Quoting: “Not reciting some canned response or talk.” Wow, could politicians, policy people, and some “experts” gain some credibility with others if they honestly took this to heart!!! My personal experience has been either the canned response (often on an unrelated topic!) or total ignoring of my honestly held comments to them.
Yes, John, I too believe those folks could learn and receive help. I appreciate the support of my work.