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Mediator, are you silencing yourself?

Mediator have a plethora of good qualities- thoughtful, supportive, openess- just to mention a few.  Two of my favorite attributes are probably not what you’d expect.   I love that mediators are patient and unstressed by ambiguity.

The Craft of Silence

It’s been my blessing and honor to co-mediate with some of the very best mediators as an early mediator and over the years.   They were masters at applying silence to mediation. I won’t name names (suppose I forgot someone?), but I will say these men and women were like silence ninjas- swift, powerful and sure.   I learned how  to hold my tongue yet be present in a mindful way.   Not easy to do.  Anyway, I tend to pay attention to  when silence is having an impact  on conversation.

What’s Hard to Say

That’s why what happened with a recent coaching client struck me.  She’d found a whole new way to use silence as a tool to avoid marketing.  Marvis had a bad case of  what I call Marketers Flu- when time rolls around for attracting new clients she gets dizzy and a bit nauseous. Lots of follow up calls she should be making but isn’t.   She’s avoiding it all. You know the drill.

As our talk continued,  it became very clear that Marvis had silenced herself .  She decided to wait longer before following up with her new contacts she networked so hard to get.  Waiting before reaching out to share information or tips with past clients so she could reconnect.  Why?  She didn’t want to be a nudge, or a pesk. Marvis doesn’t want others to see her as a bother, so she waits.  Does that sound like you?

Marvis thought that if she called or emailed a new contact or a current prospect once or twice that was more than enough until they reciprocated.  When she didn’t hear back she immediately assumed that the other person perceived her as a pesk.  Sheesh, no wonder Marvis wasn’t feeling all that confident.  She’d talked herself into believing she was a bug to get rid of instead of someone who has the means to help someone.

Your Voice is Very Necessary

Truth is, prospective clients, any clients really, are occupied with their own stuff.  Really.  They aren’t wishing you’d fall in a hole and stop emailing.  They are stamping out fire drills and slogging through their inbox.  In short, they’re busy.  Here’s the great thing about that.  So, are you- busy, that is.   You struggle to return calls, to keep up, and so do they.  You can empathize with that and help.

Marvis and I talked about how she really isn’t different from her prospects.  She’s busy and wants to follow up with people, but doesn’t have the time.  Marvis realized that people aren’t wishing her ill because she doesn’t feel that way about the people who contact her.  She can stay in touch with clients and when it’s too much they’ll tell her.  You see, she’d never had anyone say she was bothering them.  Quite the opposite, clients often thanked her for reaching them.    Telling lesson, huh?

Are You Silencing Yourself?

Here are the questions I asked Marvis.  See if you’ve been silencing yourself, too.

  1. Are other people busy?
  2. Are you busy?
  3. When someone calls (emails) you, do you generally call/email back?
  4. Are there times when sometimes you’re too busy to do it right away?
  5. If you don’t call or email are you sending that person a negative message like quit bugging me?
  6. Are you thinking bad thoughts about that person for calling/emailing?
  7. Would you like it if that person called/emailed you again?

Of course, you would.  Because the reason you haven’t returned the call isn’t because they are evil people who bug you.  It’s because you’re busy and can’t find the time.  What a relief that is.  People aren’t judging.  You have to continue because they would like to hear from you.  Never mind your inner voice.

Following Up is NOT Stalking.

So, the next time you decide to wait a few more days before following up, remember: that person WANTS to hear from you and probably can’t find the time to do it.  Call today.  Why– because following up is not stalking.  If this resonated with you, I’d like to read your thoughts in the comments.

Going to Austin?

I love line dancing almost as much as mediation.  I’m thrilled to be in Austin for the ACR conference, which is the same time as the Austin Music Festival.  Cool, huh?  So, if you’re there, too, get in touch!

I’ll present “The 7 Fatal Money Lies that Kill Your Potential” at the Consumer Lunch meeting at 12:30 on Friday.  Everyone is welcome.  Otherwise, I’ll be around at the Consumer Tableready  to talk about mediation marketing.  Find me.

                        author

Dina Beach Lynch

Dina Beach Lynch is a Workplace Mediator and Conflict Coach who supports professional practice groups. MORE >

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