Slow things down | Show Up and Sparkle

slow down
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Respond rather than react and save time, money and energy

Slow down to speed things up. It’s a dichotomy (a polar opposite, a contrariety) to say you have to slow down to speed things up. Well it’s true.

All too often we think we have to decide on the spot; say “yes” or “no” immediately in the moment and know all the answers to the questions we’re asked. Well, we’re actually making things harder for ourselves and harder on ourselves if we believe that to be true. Hitting things back like a tennis ball over the net isn’t a strategy – it’s more like survival and it wears you down.

I’ve learned we think faster than we think. It’s worth saying again to remind us both – we think faster than we think. Our brain processes the question; the decision; the issue in front of us quickly.

We assume that we have to always be thinking on the spot and just because we’re asked a question we have to know the answer; respond straightaway or act immediately. Well, we don’t. Even if we do know the answer, we don’t have to commit ourselves straightaway. We can buy ourselves time and find subtle ways to make the other person wait – even for just a few seconds.

Clients say (and particularly women), one of the big struggles they have when they’re promoted or take on more responsibility is the feeling of fear of having to know all the answers; of “making the right decision on the spot”. Well “hello”- firstly who does know all the answers? Secondly, who knows what the right decision is? Only time can tell us that. We make decisions taking into account what’s going on at the time; the information, insight and instinct we have and then, we wait to find out how it pans out.

It’s liberating – it certainly is for me – to know that you don’t have to know all the answers and you don’t have to do everything or decide everything “now” – even if it would suit others if you did.

People waste so much time, money and energy – our three most precious resources – by rushing into decisions; responding to emails in “shooting from the fingertip” mode; being asked questions and blurting out the first thing that comes to mind.

Clearing up or back-tracking from rushed decisions or responses just slows us down.

Here are three of the many ways to slow things down to speed things up for yourself when you’re asked a question:

  1. Repeat the question. Say it back to the person in a way that sounds thoughtful (it is) so you and your brain can process it. It also has the added bonus of making sure the person asking the question is actually asking what they want. (This is a greattip for interviews by the way.)
  2. Ask the person asking what they think first. You can literally say “hmm, now beforeI tell you what I think, what do you think?” This is especially powerful for someone working or reporting to you – why not make them do the thinking first?
  3. Ask another question. It sounds so elementary doesn’t it? Rather than answer what you’ve been asked; ask a few more questions about the background to the question to get clearer and, again, to buy you and your brain a few more seconds before – and if – you decide to answer. Pause.

Now that’s something to think about, isn’t it?

I’d love to hear what you think. You can leave me a comment or a note here.Here’s an immediate and practical Gift of you!  A complimentary copy of “Do You Have Trouble Saying NO?”

Let me walk you through the mindsets, strategies and exact words and phrases to use to ensure you keep stronger, more assertive boundaries for yourself and your time without upsetting yourself, or the other person.  Also, you’ll receive my twice-monthly eZine filled with more tips, tools, ideas and news.

Kay White
About the author

Kay White is our Show Up & Sparkle blogger. Known as the Savvy & Influential Communication Expert for Ambitious Women in Business, Kay shows professional women how to attract promotion, recognition and rewards at work without feeling they have to ’sell their soul. Kay shows her clients, who are corporate career women at all different stages of their careers, how to naturally attract more income and opportunity all while being true to themselves. Combining strategic moves with influencing skills plus compelling and assertive language and powerful mindsets, Kay draws on her own 20+ years corporate career in the very male-dominated world of London insurance broking. She started at 18 as a Secretary and left as a Director to start her own business. Hosting an annual 3-day Event for corporate women “Show Up; Sparkle & Be Heard LIVE” Kay encourages and shows women how to be the best, most valuable version of themselves. Kay is author of the Number 1 Best-Seller “The A to Z of Being Understood” and you can connect and find out more from Kay at : www.kaywhite.com.

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