0074: Can You Last For Eighteen Seconds?
Hey there, hero!
Tom Peters is one of my mentors.
(He likely doesn’t know or care about this fact, but it’s true nonetheless.)
His lessons on how to run your business on a high level started for me a long time ago, but remain some of the most powerful guidance I’ve received.
He answers the question “How long before the average person simply must interrupt the person they are speaking with?”
You might be surprised how short that time is…and how you can be more effective by being more patient than average.
Can you last eighteen seconds? Are you that patient? Let me know in the comments below.
quick question for you
are you able to
for at least 18 seconds
no it’s not one of those kind of
questions it’s a question that really
makes a difference
in how you run your business how you
uh your peers your customers etc i’m
going to talk to you about why 18
seconds is so important coming up next
in this episode of the vo heroes podcast
anybody who asks me i will tell them
that one of the biggest influences in my
life as an entrepreneur as a performer
as a speaker as someone who is a student
of business is an author by the name of
he’s the first person in my life in the
80s that opened my eyes up to the way
different people run their businesses
how some run them better than others how
some are struggling how some are really
is just filled if you read his books
he’s just filled with great lessons that
you can learn on how to run your
business now we run a business that’s
built around performance
and one of the things that people say
about performers about actors in
particular and certainly about voice
is that yes it’s about speaking it’s
about emoting it’s about putting your
face in a particular position it’s about
putting your voice to a certain job
but it’s mostly
it’s mostly about waiting to hear
the clues that you need to be able to
a potential client or
supplier somebody who’s going to be
selling you something
the number 18
as the result of research done at
about how long the average
their employees when they’re having a
now it could be in a meeting it could be
in a you know water cooler thing it
could be in a chat over dinner
most people can’t wait longer than 18
seconds before opening their mouths
and the other thing that they found is
that the people who could the people who
and could wait for the other person to
completely express what they were saying
and find a reasonable and polite moment
to begin their side of the conversation
those people by and large were far more
successful than the ones who couldn’t
couldn’t do it who didn’t have the
patience who couldn’t wait in some cases
and i’m sure you’ve had conversations
with people like that i’m sure you’ve
situations where like let me get my
thoughts out let me just let me just
explain this to you but they were
hell-bent to make sure you knew that
they had something to say so my question
for you is
what can you do
to have the patience
wait for the other person
to finish their thought
or to ask you for a response
to give you a visual or verbal clue that
they are ready for feedback
what can you do
it is simply a matter of being aware of
and practicing it and if you do
the results can be spectacular first of
the respect that people have for you
will dramatically increase
it will also stop you from knee-jerk
jumping on threads and saying things
that maybe you regret maybe sending
emails that you didn’t
really want to send after thinking about
it it’s that moment when you actually
take the time
to let the information come to you and
how much information will come to you
if you just let the other person have
so can you last 18 seconds
is it something that’s difficult for you
are you working on it i know i am
let me know in the comments below and by
the comments below i mean of course
uh on uh on voheros.com that’s where the
conversation usually takes place with
at least 18 seconds before responding um
it’s polite we love it and by the way if
you like what you’re hearing in these
podcast episodes and they’re helping you
with your acting practice or your
voiceover practice or whatever your
however the reason is or whatever the
reason is that you’re listening to this
um please feel free to subscribe to it
forward it to other actors and voice
talent that you think might benefit from
it hit the subscribe button if that’s
what you’d like to do the like button is
a beautiful oblong with rounded corners
uh button usually sometimes it’s a
uh touch it gently you don’t even have
to wait 18 seconds to do that
i’m david h lawrence the 17th i thank
you so much for watching and for
listening and i will see you in the next
episode of the vo heroes podcast
David, this advice is priceless. I just shared it with my son who’s in the workforce where he interacts with lots of his peers. No doubt it’s important to let your boss talk and *not* interrupt her/him!
I do lots of phone consult calls and I can tell you it really pays to just listen to what people say. And as you point out, they do give important clues as they speak. Great job as usual. Keep ’em coming!
Thank you for articulating this, David. Invaluable advice.
For the last two years, I have been reminding myself to let people finish before speaking. In fact, t’s become a rule (part of a community agreement) of the theater company with which I work. As you have beautifully said here, it gives you time to absorb, to hear and to craft an appropriate response. I’ve found that I t also allows me to relax.
One characteristic about interruption of which I have been reminded, and have observed, frequently. There is often a gendered component where women are interrupted by men far more often than the reverse. Something to bear in mind.
Thank you again for these podcasts. They are excellent.
An exceptional quantification of the cardinal rule of communication: Listening is more important than speaking—it’s not a 50/50 proposition. If a listener is busy formulating a response, which by definition can not be fully responsive until the speaker has finished their proposition, and searching for a place to interrupt, then they are not listening.
I wonder how many will now be watching the clock while formulating their repartee and searching for a place to bring the attention back to them where it belongs. Exhausting, I’m sure.
I have varying levels of success with this. I’d say I do ok most of the time 🙂
I did a relationships workshop years ago in which we did an incredibly revealing exercise:
Sat in a dyad, we had 2 minutes to do it three different times. The first time, we listened to our partner share something personal, and were instructed to chime in with helpful thoughts, advice, questions.
The second time, we listened and were instructed not to say anything, but to let the person know we were listening with small affirmations—head nods, little agreement noises, etc.
And the third time, we were instructed not to react or respond at all—to just be there, almost impassively, as our partner shared. And that was the most revelatory experience, by far. The power of simply LISTENING… it wasn’t uncommon for people all over the room to tear up at the experience of truly being HEARD for the first time in a long time.
I’ll never forget it! Thanks for this potent reminder.
I would imagine that not giving the speaker any feedback at all likely made them work harder to feel like they were being heard, as you were not giving any non-verbal clues. Interesting.
WOW David, did this ever resonate with me! It drives me crazy when I observe others interjecting while another person’s speaking (especially when being given direction!) and yet (according to my family who KNOWS), I am the most guilty of this exact behavior! Mostly in my family relationships, but you’ve made me pause to consider that I obviously must do this more frequently than I care to admit! We all want to be heard and as an actor/VO artist, it’s imperative that we really hear what our goal is for our performance. It’s on each of us to truly LISTEN so we’re on the same page! Thank you for this, my Friend!