Keep Closed Until Further Notice | 123Read&Write

An educational blog entry about having good communication skills and listening to others.

I'll be the first to admit, this is a tough strategy for me. I am currently working on the awful habit of interrupting (by finishing their sentences) others before they've finished their thoughts. This is a cycle that I've been working hard to break, which is why I share it here. This is wrong on various levels, but for the most part it affects the other person in a couple ways:

1. It annoys them, because they know they are more than capable of saying what's on their mind.

2. It makes others anxious to speak with you, because you're acting like the converstation is one big emergency needing to be rushed; hence, finishing their sentences. 

So, what can this strategy do for us as educators? Well, quite a bit actually. Imagine having a discussion with a parent, whom you are always interrupting or finishing their sentences. They're going to feel that you don't have the patience to listen or hear what they have to say. Not only does it create a bad vibe; it will in all probability lead to a strenuous relationship throughout the year. 

On the other spectrum, imagine the anxiety a student feels if they are trying to ask something or give an answer, but they know if they are not quick enough, you'll abruptly finish their answer or question. This does no good for developing and nurturing a healthy relationship with your students throughout the year.

In the end, I'm not sure where the phrase "open mouth, insert foot" originated; but, it's got a pretty simple and clear meaning. Often, when we have a problem, look in the mirror, under your nose, for the most likely culprit. By allowing others to finish their thoughts, they'll be more open and relaxed with you, and you'll be a more relaxed person, because you don't feel the need to rush the conversation.