Communication essential: W.A.I.T.

I’ve recently come across a few articles that reference the acronym W.A.I.T.ꟷ Why Am I Talking.

I tried to find the source for this, but every article I came across just references it much like I am hereꟷI heard it somewhere. I liked it. I use it.

The point of W.A.I.T. is pretty clearꟷstop talking. Which, in my mind, brings to light the oppositeꟷstart listening.

Now, I like to talk. A lot. And most of the time it’s to people, which I really enjoy doing. But I actually enjoy listening more. I’m good at that too. But with the rise of virtual work, I have found that I’m talking more. There are a few reasons for this:

Filling the silence. Virtual meetings have a lot of uncomfortable moments of silence. It’s not bad. It’s just not good. So … I try to fill it.

Excitement. HeyꟷI see people! And a lot of words come out.

Blind to body language. I don’t see the nonverbal cues I look for during in-person meetings. So that must mean the person doesn’t like or understand what I’m saying, right? Nope. It just means we’re on video and I need to find new ways to confirm my message is resonating. Like … oh, I don’t know … stop talking and listen?

You get the point. Trying to fill the vacuum with words is detrimental in so many ways. This is especially true with internal meetings where employees should feel empowered and confident in their opportunity to lead or provide feedback to the conversations you’re having.

I’ve actually started writing W.A.I.T. at the top of my notebook ahead of each meeting. If you’re experiencing some of what I’ve outlined here, I would recommend trying it.

What are you waiting for?