MY WHOLE LIFE
I have been a fast talker, from the moment sentences formed in my mind I spat them out like machinegun fire, why, why ,what if, why not, the list was endless. It was this ADHD approach that made my mother fear educating me, as because she was giving me the information I expected her to know why, fair enough eh?
This rapid approach to thinking was a precursor to how I approached conversations and especially education. I always had an answer, it didn’t matter whether you thought it was Right or Wrong as I had the ability to take either side. I could argue for one day and against the next.
In my mind Right and Wrong were simply concepts based on your belief, which made formal education difficult as debate didn’t seem to be encouraged. In my mind I was always Right because if you could show me a different view that made logical sense I was happy to move to that perspective.
We get way too hung up on believing something is Right or Wrong, it is simply a belief held at a particular point in time and will undoubtedly be proven untrue at another.
SO ARMED WITH THIS BEHAVIOUR
I applied it to my business view, and what popped up was selling. I was a natural, able to argue against whatever point you thought would put me off, “over coming all objections” was the rule of selling in the seventies, and all it required was the ability to argue, and all that requires is the ability to think fast….right.
I took this well honed behavior into business as an employee, when in discussions or meetings I always had an answer and to make matters worse I was a bully to go with it.
Not in any physical way but in a verbal way and what was worse, I was rewarded for it. Crazy eh, being the loudest most persuasive forceful voice so often influences the room.
Now things get interesting when the group has two people with this type of personality. But our business world has been hijacked by the American way of doing business, break the year down in to quarters and measure against that.
So companies have been forced to embrace speed, and quick answers are good answers….right? and in this rush to respond we have sown the seeds of our demise. Fast thinking is being taken out of our hands by the new fast, I mean real fast, computing power and AI are moving question answering to a new level.
And what’s more is they are way more accurate, not emotionally attached, they don’t bring bias or fear to their decisions, if you want fast answers a computer is the way to go.
Maybe, because in my belief that speed was king I was under the self delusion that I was a fast thinker able to have an answer before I had even thought about it, answers appeared as if by magic.
AND THEN ONE DAY
something happened, just a simple thing, a quick response to an email, write….send, done. But when I got up for a coffee and walked around a bit I realised that my response had been weak and the more I thought about it the more I realised that the person reading it would be far from impressed,
To late it was gone, and right at that point I made a pact with myself, any email response that had real consequences I would get up and walk around, have a coffee, talk to someone, anything to put some space between write and….send.
After a while I noticed that I was making better decisions, released from the pressure of being fast I actually started to talk to myself, even arguing with myself before I wrote things, sometimes I wouldn’t press send till the next day.
I started to realise that even though I had always had an answer with a little bit more time I had a much more thoughtful and considered answer ….I had been Wrong, power beats speed every time.
And so when I started consulting, running workshops on selling and communication and change I made it a point to create a space for the power thinkers. I realised that the thoughtful and shy and unsure people in the room may well have a far better idea if given a chance than to just hear the voice of the loud and fast.
Which brings me to the point .
If you want a great discussion and some real thinking inside you business then give people a chance to think, maybe have two sessions instead of one so the power thinkers can go home and mull it for the night, make a place that supports those less forceful so they can bring their wisdom to the table. Don’t be in a hurry for the answer, and be prepared to change if a bit later a better one comes along.
The world is changing and we need to change our mantra, we need to bring back the skills of philosophy, we need to be embracing psychology and teaching the soft skills that are the real future for business. The loud pushy, overcoming the objections way of getting our point across is gone, its emotional connection that persuades us, not speed.
And for all the fast thinkers out there next time you go to hit send….get up walk around, go home think about it, then come back the next day and hit send. If you are having a conversation then say, that sounds fantastic I will get back to you………
Chances are that if you are like me you will alter something, and you will be the better off for it.
As usual if you have an opinion please express it……just pause before you hit send.