Part of being an influential communicator is knowing the difference between responding versus reacting.
A reaction stems from assumptions, subconscious communication habits, and unexamined emotions. A response is the result of reflection and consideration of multiple perspectives.
What typically distinguishes a response versus a reaction? Pause.
In the past few decades, time for pause has been bogarted by technology.
It’s easy to lose sight of how much technology has trained us to be reactionary. Our devices and their software are designed to get reactions from us:
- Text message alerts
- Email alerts
- Social media alerts
- News alerts
We’re always ready and alert for anything that needs our instant “response” – ahem, reaction.
Now, time for pause has to be claimed. Requests for a pause will help you return with thoughtful responses.
Phrases for Requesting Time to Respond
We all have the personal responsibility to communicate a need for pause – to let others know that you want to show up fully, wholeheartedly, and mindfully to the conversation.
Every situation has its own nuances. To help you get started, here are a few easy phrases you can use as a springboard in different situations for when you need to request time to think.
Requesting Time to Think at Work:
- “I would like some time to take this under consideration.”
- “Please give me time to review this for when I have a bit more bandwidth.”
- “I’d appreciate the time to think this over.”
Requesting Time to Think at Home:
- “I need a moment to take a breath.”
- “I’d appreciate some space to process everything.”
- “I feel like I need my thoughts to catch up to my feelings. Can we please revisit this sometime soon”.
Requesting Time to Think on Social Media:
I have seen different examples of when someone expressed a need to pause on an online platform. If you’d like to make a request for space on social media – either in a particular thread or from your entire online presence – then feel free to find your own personal mix using the phrases above in either category.
As a caveat, I don’t necessarily think you need to apply the same “rules” to social media as you would for 1-1 interactions. If you feel an aspect of your social media has taken a toxic turn, consider not engaging further until you feel it’s right for you.
Accepting Requests for Time to Think
If you see the value in taking a pause for yourself, then please honor the request when it’s made by someone else. Time to think helps us all have mindful conversations. Pauses help us get through thoughts and emotions that come from fears or defensives that want to react with a potentially harmful consequences. Time to think helps us avoid saying words we wish we could take back. Time to think helps us find the words for creation, connection, opportunity, innovation, healing, and motivation.
Mindful conversations follow requests and acceptance for a pause.