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13 Feb 2012

Relationship Building Technique #3: Pause

This entry is part 3 of 9 in the series Relationship Building Techniques

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.



Series Navigation<< Relationship Building Technique #2: Closed QuestionsRelationship Building Technique #4: Acknowledgement >>

3 Responses

  1. Pingback : Relationship Building Technique #3: Pause &ndas...

  2. 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.

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