The awkward pause. You’ve been there. You’ve felt the silence that makes you sweat like you never knew was possible. Your heart, racing so fast and loudly, is the onlysound besides the deafening quiet. Awkward doesn’t begin to describe the intensity of the moment. Do you give in and speak first? Do you portray the strong silent type? The hush is unnerving.
But what if it wasn’t?
Last fall, I attended a conference in which one of the speakers was disucssing how powerful a pause can be in negotiation because “that is when some of the best answers come out.”
Since no one likes an uncomfortable pause, someone will fill the void.
However, there is value in the void. There is power in the pause.
- may make people forget what you had previously said. This is great for flub ups! If you’re grappling for words, pause. The listener will either forget the babbling or revert back to another aspect of the conversation that caught their attention OR they’ll think you had a stroke. Either way, the pause gives you time to breathe and re-group.
- allows the other person to voice their concerns, speak their mind, negotiate terms, or give you their decision.
- gives you time to process the situation or information given to you.
- is the perfect opportunity for clarification. Question time, anyone?
- may give you a NO to what you’re asking, but gives an opportunity for the reasoning behind the no.
While our speaker shared this perspective in reference to business and the art of negotiation, the same holds true in personal relationships.
When a pause occurs, that’s when honesty is revealed. Feelings surface. Concerns are stated. Confessions are given. Amends are made.
Yet even after the conversation ends, we still feel the power of the pause and its driving momentum to a place of truth and decisiveness.
The pause gets such a bad rep for its awkwardness. It’s loathed because of the tension that arises. It’s dreaded for the vulnerability and reality it exposes, and for the uncomfortableness that accompanies it.
But what if we pushed pause on our own life for a while?
What if amidst the fast-paced, evolving world swirling around us, we intentionally took a pause?
And then, what if we chose to use that power of the pause for examining our hearts, our actions, our path?
How would your outlook change? What difference would it make in your life?
How would your relationships look if you momentarily paused before speaking harshly in the heat of the moment?
Pausing is not a new concept. In fact, the practice of hitting pause dates to Biblical days with 6 references to “be still” in the Old Testament and once in the New Testament.
Being still means to be motionless, to stop striving, stop fighting, sit quietly, meditate, and wait.
Isn’t waiting for someone to fill the silence what really makes a pause unsettling?
Yet the quieter you become, when you settle into that stillness, into the pause… that’s when you can see beauty, when wisdom is gained, when strength is renewed, and peace and clarity can be found.
What is raging in your heart that you need to calm today?
What struggles do you need to surrender?
Are you trying to control things that you weren’t intended to control?
What parenting decision do you need to press pause on so you can work through it rationally instead of reactionally?
Are you allowing other people’s opinions to dictate your life? Or are you living the life you were designed for?
My friends, there is so much power in the pause, so much honesty revealed. I encourage you to pause daily. Pause several times a day. Be still and wait. Then watch some of the best answers come out.
“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.” – Mark Twain Click To Tweet
How often do you PAUSE? Please share in the comments below.