Have you ever had the experience of delivering the perfect response to a situation, well after the fact and in your own mind?
Yeah, me too.
How about watching your words land in the room as you desperately wish for a rewind button?
Sometimes it feels as if we are always oscillating between speaking too quickly or not speaking quickly enough. At its core, this is about thinking.
In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman introduces the concept of two modes of thought. System 1 is quick, instinctive, emotional and system 2 is slower, more logical, and deliberate. At its surface, it seems that those descriptions are enough information but he also considers biases in both cognitive processing and our judgments. It is definitely worth a read.
So back to our problem. How does one respond quickly enough but in a thoughtful way? My solution is to develop a habit of inserting one full breath cycle (inhale, exhale, inhale, speak) in front of every response. This might seem like it will take a lot of time but a deep yoga class breath is not required here (caveat: if you are angry that yoga breath will save you).
A speech pattern that begins with a breath cycle gives your brain crucial time to organize your response. This is especially important when the conversation is causing emotional charge and/or amplification.
Today I invite you to experiment with taking time to cycle air before you respond. I acknowledge it can feel like you have to jump at the chance to insert your thoughts especially as you navigate Zoom calls. Just give it a try and let me know how it goes.
This Friday at 12:30 pm EDT, Gina will host an office hour over Zoom that will also be live on FB. These will be short voice alignment sessions aimed at voice skills building. Come to the Zoom for the session and/or to ask any questions you have about voice function or practice or just join me over FB Live. Register here or watch it live on the GROW Voice FB page. I hope to see you there.
Gina Razón is the principal voice specialist at GROW Voice LLC, a full-service voice and speech studio in Boston’s Back Bay. She has over 16 years of experience both as a teacher of voice and speech, and a voraciously curious voice user. Gina has worked professionally as a classical singer for over a decade and more recently as a professional public speaker. For more information on the studio or to book Gina visit www.growvoice.com.