Be the last to speak — three benefits, three drawbacks, and some questions for tech leads

Here’s a quick communication technique you might find useful: be the last to speak at your next meeting. I don’t see this technique used very much in engineering conference rooms; in fact, I see the opposite every damn day!

What are some benefits?

  • You might get the whole story without having influenced or biased a conversation.
  • Opportunities or hooks to lead that you might have missed will reveal themselves.
  • The people on the team will actually feel heard (if you’re actually listening and actually care not only about the message but where it’s coming from).

What are some drawbacks?

  • It’s hard, especially for the alphas in the room or techs that want to jump in and solve a problem right away.
  • When people are insecure about their own position or status in a meeting, they sometimes aren’t ready to hear or accept information.
  • Sometimes people talk a lot — so you’ll have to inject eventually before the clock runs out!

Questions

  • Have you heard of this technique?
  • Whether you have or haven’t, do you find it challenging to listen to people before you want to jump in and assert your opinion?
  • If so, describe some of the difficulties.
  • Of those difficulties, do you feel like any of them are due to the fact that you don’t really want to listen — or that what you really want to do is assert your opinion?

Let me know! I’m curious!

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