For day 30 I attempted to speak… with… pauses. The goal was to pause before and between speaking while at a networking event.
Why is pausing uncomfortable? Pausing invites interruption. We could lose our audience’s attention. In contrast, Desperation leads us to speak faster and louder in order to assert our voice.
I released my desperation and traded it in for trust. I trusted my partners would listen. Still, I accepted the fact that I might be interrupted.
What I Discovered
I’m interested in repeating this challenge with a defined pause rate. For example, counting to 3 before answering or in between speaking. I was able to speak slowly, but I didn’t have very many long pauses. Because I played it by ear, I often cut a pause short when it felt right. But this diminished the discomfort.
By speaking slowly, I felt very relaxed the whole event. Maybe because mind wasn’t racing to fit my life story into 3 minutes.
Because I paused before speaking, it gave others a changes to speak more. In a group of three, this back fired because I couldn’t speak at all. But I was comfortable listening.
Though I didn’t get to speak as much, I felt very heard when I did. Every word I said had space. People remembered my introduction. The same jokes I make that often fall flat, made people laugh.
As I’ve learned over and over again with the discomfort challenge, when you relax so does your conversation partner. When you’re calm, people trust you. Everyone can sense desperation and it’s very off putting. Not because it’s pitiful. Because it’s suspicious. What is this person desperate for? What do they want from me?
Overall, this was a neat experiment that helped me relax at a networking event. Isn’t it strange how trying something uncomfortable results in comfort?
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