We’ve all been trained by our current way of life to speed up everything. We skip commercials. We don’t read entire articles. We have everything delivered right to us. We’ve made slowing down feel uncomfortable, which makes it even harder to break the “in a hurry” habit. But doing it can seriously simplify our lives.
We’re going to start our “slowing down our lives” project with conversations, how we communicate with people.
Here are some things to try the next time you are talking with someone …
If a conversation is worth having then it’s worth your full attention. Put away your phone (checking your phone during a conversation is rude anyway). Turn off (or at least mute) the TV. Talk in a quiet space.
Being mindful of what’s happening right now, without distractions, simplifies your life by quieting your mind and letting you just think about one thing at a time … what the person in front of you is saying.
Establish the Purpose of the Conversation
Is the purpose of your call to a fellow parent to ask for their help with a school fundraiser? If so, don’t spend time with small talk and catching up until after you’ve discussed what needs to be worked out.
Are you having a meeting with a coworker to assign roles in a major project? If so, don’t spend time talking about what you did over the weekend.
Is the conversation with a sibling about a long term plan for the care of your elderly parents? If so, don’t spend time talking about what your kids want for Christmas.
Establishing the purpose of the conversation helps keep you on track and simplifies your life by giving you a clear plan without needing to clarify things later.
Clarify What the Other Person is Asking For
We all have the habit of practicing what we’re going to say back to someone before they’ve even finished talking. We don’t listen to understand. We listen to respond.
Before the person even starts their rant about what a loser their ex is and how they can’t believe how stupid they were for staying so long, ask what they want from you. Do they want advice or do they just want to vent?
If you’re not trying to think of the perfect thing to say back you can be more engaged in the conversation and concentrate on what they’re really coming to you for.
Wait Before Responding
Make sure they’re finished with what they’re saying before you jump in with your response. They might be telling you the answer to the question you’ve been thinking of right when you interrupt to ask it. Give them the chance to finish their thought.
Rushing through conversations and not taking the time to engage in the interaction can be a very hard habit to break, but after you do it simplifies your life by giving you clarity without confusion.
Make the effort to sloooooooooooow down your conversations and see what happens.
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