So Many Ways to Say Shut Up, So Little Time.

Reading Time: 1.5 minutes

++++++++++++++++++++

“I understand.”

“I’ve got it.”

“I think what John is trying to say…”

“Thank you.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah.”

“uh-huh, uh-huh, uh-huh.’ (impatiently nodding head and waiting to speak)

+++++++++++++++

I’ve been noticing this in myself lately, the way I’ve adopted a conversational rhythm meant to hurry people along.  In my role as facilitator, I sometimes have a legitimate need to interrupt people, and I do, most often to ask them what the gist is.  “I’m having a hard time knowing what to pay attention to in all you’ve said.  Could you summarize it in a sentence?”

I find it hard to listen to an endless barrage of words and know what the speaker wants me to glean from it.  In the US, we give preference to people who talk a lot and often, believing it’s a sign of confidence and leadership.  It’s not, of course – it’s just extroversion.  Some leaders seem to have been taught that speaking is the same as leadership, so they start talking at the beginning of the meeting and don’t stop until it’s over.  These meetings rarely end on time.

Sometimes when everyone’s eyes are on me, I just start babbling, and I wish someone would interrupt me and ask that magic question:  What is it you are trying to say?  In those moments I need to be asked, because I’m running scared, talking because people are listening.

I want to interrupt these kinds of speech as an act of kindness and deeper listening.  I want to not say or be heard as saying “shut up,” but to be seen as asking to hear what the speaker really wants to say, even if they think it’s unacceptable.  Especially then.

In my quest I’ve noticed that “shut up” comes in so many forms, some of which are listed above.  I bet there are hundreds of them.  Do you struggle with this too?  Do you have strategies that work? Have you heard other ways we say “shut up” without appearing to?  Your comments are welcome.

4 Comments

One Situation, Three Kinds of Business

[Continue reading]

Mindset Mapping: Growth, Fixed or Mixed?

[Continue reading]

“Squirrel!” – Adventures in Mental Hygiene

Reading Time:  1.5 minutes +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Earlier this week I was feeling lower than a snake's belly.  I was metabolizing some difficult family news that left me with a low-level sense of dread I couldn't shake.   I wasn't sure … [Continue reading]

Icebreaker: What’s Your Rhythm?

Reading Time: 1 minute Icebreaker Time:  10-15 minutes ++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Here's a drum circle technique you can use anywhere, even when you have to be really, really quiet. 1. Have a participant say their name, then tap our the … [Continue reading]

The R.E.S.P.E.C.T. Icebreaker

Reading Time: 2 minutes ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ R.E.S.P.E.C.T.  Since Aretha Franklin's recent death, I've been hearing this song everywhere - blaring from a bar as I walk past, on someone's phone at the next table over, from the … [Continue reading]

How to change someone else

Reading Time:  45 seconds +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ There's a elegant, simple way to do this and there's the other way. The other way is to employ a variety of passive, aggressive or passive-aggressive techniques to get others to … [Continue reading]

The “Yes, And…” Icebreaker

Reading Time: 1.5 mins Icebreaker Time:  6-10 mins ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ It's 92 degrees with 90% humidity and there isn't even a fan in the room. Our teacher is twenty minutes late. A long-time student stands and turns to face … [Continue reading]

One-Word Story, a Team-Building Icebreaker

This is just like the clap-pass icebreaker, but words replace a hand-clap.   It's just as fast and energizing, with one change:  It can be harder to let go into the flow of the story. SET-UP The group can either sit or stand in a circle.  Tell … [Continue reading]

CG #66 – “Smooth Seas Do Not Make Skillful Sailors.”

Do you ever feel like the universe is sending you a postcard?  When I came home last night, the title of this post was scrawled in chalk on the ramp to my dock. ________________________ Reading Time:  Under 2 … [Continue reading]