"One of the best ways to persuade others is with your ears, by listening to them." ~Dean Rusk

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action." ~Peter Drucker

Ever felt that uncomfortable silence in a meeting or in a conversation and feel compelled to contribute? Well that feeling that you have to break the silence with SOMETHING is exactly what everyone else experiences. Too many leaders are the first to interject something to break that uncomfortable silence and end up eliminating an opportunity for more contribution. Great leaders know how to use this to get the best out of their team. A few extra seconds longer than you would normally wait is usually all it takes. If you can get comfortable with that uncomfortable feeling you too can reap some of the benefits for each team member and the organization as a whole.

What benefits am I talking about?

You get more of everything – More people will contribute if you wait just a little while longer. You will get more details, explanations and information on the issue. What is even better is that first contribution will often lead to more. Especially when you are asking for ideas from a team, you need to let them respond. It is irrational to think that they don’t have ideas so make sure you’re hearing them.

You get the truth – Part of getting all of that information above is getting at the truth of the issue. And there are some times when information is held back because there will be fault assigned. In those cases where it is necessary, that extra silence can often get you the information you need.

You get ownership – When people contribute they feel more empowered and have more of a sense of ownership over what they do. This leads to easier buy-in and further contribution to details.

So the next time you’re heading up a meeting and you need to hear some ideas, thoughts, etc. make sure you are giving your team every opportunity to contribute. Sometimes it only takes a few seconds more.

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