I noticed this from my coach. After the end of my sharing, she added a beat and looked me in the eyes. It is as if she is asking (in her head) “is there anything else you want to share?” Then she took a breath and said “thank you for sharing.”
I felt seen. I wanted to share and connect more. Maybe I even teared a little.
During my family meeting, I tried on the posture of my coach, saying “thank you” and adding an extra beat. It was awkward. It was time-consuming. And we did not get through everything I wanted.
The extra beat created a pause, enough for me to recall lessons from books. And instead of blurting it as an edict, I seek permission to share (“Something came to mind as you were sharing your thoughts that I think might be helpful. May I share it?”)
Sure, we did not get through everything I wanted. But that hour was magical. We shared more deeply than we have and it laid the groundwork for a different way of engagement.
This takes emotional labour and you’ll be tired. It might not be for everyone. But for someone important, it might be worth it.
[Thank you, Christina Monson]