“I want it right now” is the expectation that has become ingrained in our desires in all parts of our lives – from that order that you placed online today, to health goals, and expectations in your business. Instant gratification can be a difficult and sometimes unwise goal to chase. Hasty decisions can lead to costly mistakes for you and others. As you take in a request or are asked for your opinion and direction here are some reasons why you may benefit before giving a response. 

Avoiding your impulses

One of the common signs of a person with low self-management skills (Show 147) is that they will react emotionally without thinking clearly. The reaction just comes out for better or worse. This trait can also lead to a lot of regret on the person’s part, apologies that need to be made, and damaged relationships as a result. Taking time before a response is important especially when the topic is critical towards you, your team, or the work you do. It’s natural to get defensive during these times. 

Take the time to cool off. Find a trusted advisor or friend to bounce your frustration or potential response off of. Put some effort into understanding where the other person is coming from. They could still be totally wrong, but their perception is their reality. Craft your message so that your response is factual, understanding of their position, and doesn’t do harm to the relationship. 

Consider additional options

There are times when you aren’t afforded the luxury of time when it comes to giving a response – think emergency situations or critical errors in customer service.  Many times though, we quickly throw out a response just to get the issue off of our to-do list or to prevent it from hindering more of your day. 

Taking time to gather your thoughts and perhaps the thoughts of others will help you come to a more holistic and well-rounded solution. That pause may seem unnatural or forced at times when you stop work that is currently going on, but the benefit of fully understanding the situation and potential solutions is worth the effort. 

Let your active listening skills and empathy take the wheel

A pause in conversation also gives you a chance to showcase and use your active listening skills.  Rushing to respond may result in missed cues, overlooked emotions, or subtle nuances in the speaker’s message. Pausing doesn’t always mean sitting in silence in front of the other person (although that may be appropriate at times). Pausing could be asking reflecting and follow-up questions back as you take in what the person is, or isn’t saying.

Slowing down your response in order to listen more also shows empathy and understanding, and creates space for a genuine connection. When you pause before responding, you are also acknowledging the speaker’s perspective and responding in a way that reflects a true understanding of their thoughts and feelings. We’ve covered empathy quite a bit over the years and a great place to start is with our short series beginning with Understanding Empathy (Show 245-247)

Be sure to check yourself when a quick response is being asked of you. Ask yourself “Do I need to take more time on this for the business or the person?” You’ll find yourself creating better solutions and stronger relationships as a result. 

Make a better tomorrow.