A while ago I promised to come back to an acronym I encountered while walking from the ‘Cave:’ my office, to the kitchen.
It was something Tom Hanks discovered while filming A Wonderful Day in the Neighborhood. The acronym is W.A.I.T: Why Am I Talking, and as he shared it in conversation with Ellen DeGeneres, I found myself mesmerized by what he had to say.
Hanks was so taken with the idea of W.A.I.T.-ing he was working hard to implement the practice in his own life. The idea was interesting enough to actually go back into my office and look it up and I was amazed to find out that W.A.I.T. is really a ‘thing!’
I try to be a good listener. I always have. And, why not? We should listen and look twice as much as we speak. That’s why we have two ears, two eyes and only one mouth. Nevertheless, I was intrigued and as luck would have it I had occasion to road test this idea of waiting to speak yesterday when a good friend came over seeking advice.
Within reason, I followed the chart…
While asking myself the following questions: What do I have to share? Is it worthwhile?
Is it appropriate? Why now? How will the person with whom I’m sharing accept what I have to say? What can be gained if I say nothing? What might be lost if I say too much? Are you actively listening? Or, are you thinking about what you will say next? And, finally, do these rules apply when you’re communicating with your team, associates and colleagues?
The road test was a success! W.A.I.T.ing works! My friend achieved the clarity he was looking for. His concerns were resolved, and his questions answered all in far less time than if I hadn’t practiced W.A.I.T.
It worked for me. If you try it and like it, let me know if it worked for you.
active listeningWAITWhy Am I Talking