A Bigmouth and a Contemplator – Who Sets the Pace of the Conversation?

A big part of communication skills don’t actually have much to do with speaking or argumentation. In Finnish language our word vuorovaikutus (interaction) reveals the nature of the act itself: vuoro means turn, and vuorovaikutus implies that interaction should indeed happen by taking turns, one by one.

I’d like to compare interaction to a swing: it sways to the other side and stops for a little while before swaying back. The moment of standing still is extremely important and with others it takes more time. I just recently figured this out myself.

Is your answer perfect?

I, myself, am a very fast-paced person and I react briskly to most things. Even though I am experienced to talk a lot and fast and my brain is in rather decent shape as well, it’s not all about these factors. It’s just that I happen to be a person who thinks aloud.

When I begin to reply, my answer might not necessarily be ready at all. There is no certainty of what I think about the matter or how my sentence will end. When I open my mouth, I start to sketch my answer while I speak. That’s why my speech includes on the one hands and on the other hands.

This is by no means the method of conversation or thinking that everyone uses. I have come to notice, that there is a large group of people that like to think the thought through beforehand. Once they begin to answer, the idea is perfect, truthful and well constructed.

No wonder it takes some time?

The former method allows one to start answering immediately. And by immediately, I mean right away after the other one ends her sentence with something that sounds like a period. In many cases this type of people, including me, end up replying already after comma, mistaking it for a dot.

The latter way of answering takes time to develop. For a long time I thought that the reason quiet people don’t take part in conversation is because they have a hard time mustering courage and opening up their mouths to speak. Just recently I have learned, that with some it is actually a matter of the thinking process; Their thoughts might not be yet ready when another aloud-thinking-person already takes over the situation.

If there are many big-mouths and only one contemplator in the situation, the thoughts of the latter will probably never see daylight.

What can I, the contemplator, do about this?

Now it is very easy to invoke the martyrdom and say “yeah, that’s right”. These fast-paced aloud-thinking people steamroll all the conversations and there’s nothing to be done. Why couldn’t someone just fix the extroverts and bigmouths and prattlers and teach them how to have a conversation?! I don’t deny that there wasn’t a need for that and that something shouldn’t be done.

I am extremely happy, that I have figured out the differences in the pauses at last. Because of that, I have learned to slow down my own pace and to wait longer. It is, also, a life skill to have patience to wait for the other person´s opinion or point of view in the conversation in peace. To sit down with no hurry, to listen in order to understand, and to focus on what’s happening.

But there is no way I could guarantee that all the fast-paced people in the world would change their ways after which life would be all happy and delightful. That’s why I am keen on finding out what the ones that like to process their thoughts thoroughly in silence could do to make their own lives easier.

I am hiding one tool in my sleeve, and I will reveal it a bit later, but before that I’d like to know what’s your solution: what could we do about this?

Leave a comment, tweet (@Elisaliisa) or better yet: come and discuss it in Koodarikuiskaaja Slack! There is already 20 of us!

Or what do you think?

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