One of the noticings I’ve made about my own learning and leading is that I need to talk, and talk quite a bit, in order to process.
While this is incredibly helpful for me, I’ve only of late come to the understanding that it might be off-putting for others. After all, even with the best of intentions, those who monopolize conversations tend to be at most annoying, and at worst, thought-stifling.
It’s a challenge for me, as I understand the nuances of sitting back and letting all voices be heard. But, I also find I need to speak in order to process as best as possible. So, what am I to do?
I’ve thought of three steps I can take to address this.
First, I can give myself a set amount of “talk time.” By attempting to keep my processing needs to five minutes, for instance, I can monitor how much time I’ve actually spoken, and then push myself to stop speaking. This isn’t particularly organic in nature, but it would force me to stop holding the microphone as long.
Another step could be for me to have others monitor my sharing. By enlisting a critical friend, we can agree on signs that I should look for to gauge when I’m toeing the line in terms of my speaking. By becoming ever more aware of at what point I come close to crossing that line, I can subconsciously train myself in better self-monitoring.
Finally, I might shift my talking points to all question points. By using solely (or close to solely) questions as my participation in certain conversations, I can still verbally allow for my processing but keep the conversation focused on the other learners and leaders participating, and shift the talking away from me.
While I need to try these steps in order to determine their effectiveness, I am happy that I have a number of different processes to attempt. That is what learning and leading is all about, right? Recognizing our growth points, and pushing ourselves to always meet them!