Turn the coin over

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“Listen with the intent to understand, not to reply” ~ Stephen Covey

Great advice from Master Covey, but it is a deeply ingrained human behaviour to listen, have an idea, then cut in, interject, say something.

A mentor of mine taught me once that when I am listening and have something I want to say, to: a) write it down, b) put it out of my mind, then c) wait at least five minutes. If it is still relevant after that time, then share it, but if not, don’t

Seth Godin recently gave similar advice:

If your habit is to clear your throat, apologize a few times, minimize the quality of the work you’re about to share and in general, apologize for the assertions you’re about to make…

you probably realize that this is not an effective way to give a talk, lead a class or have a strategic discussion.

Consider carrying a coin in your pocket, one that’s large, or in a foreign currency.

Every time you feel like you need to minimize your contribution, simply stop and turn the coin over. You can count that as your obligation fulfilled.

And then you can get back to work.

[This isn’t simply an analogy. It actually works.]


Also published on Medium.

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