Monday, November 12, 2012

7 Mississippi

In the last post, I was discussing waiting until your discussion partner really finished dumping what he had to say. But how do you know he's really finished? The secret is -- he probably isn't.

Even after he’s gotten through making his points and finally closes his mouth, delay opening your mouth even longer. You may find this hard to believe, but at the point when you think it’s your turn, chances are your guest hasn’t actually said everything he’s got to say. Whether it’s an idea he thinks is a little too far out on the fringe, or a criticism that he thinks you might not want to hear, he hasn’t brought it up yet.

One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, …

This is when I use my rule of “Seven Mississippi.” Just start counting it out in your head. When you allow an awkward silence to fall over the discussion, your guest will start feeling like it’s his obligation to get the dialogue going again. And then he’ll start trying to figure out what in the heck he can say next. Chances are, he will dive down into some of those as-yet-unsaid items he didn’t cover initially. That’s when he’ll get to the sweet chewy center of what he really had to say in the first place.

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