Communication Barrier - Rehearsing What to Say Next

This communication barrier is built when people start rehearsing what to say next and stop paying attention to what's being said now.

what to say next

We are all guilty of this at some point or another. We tune out what people are saying and start thinking what we're going to say next. We kind of go back and forth between listening and thinking what to say next. When we do this, we don’t really listen, we just look like we do. We may even say the right things, but in reality we're not listening.

Why do we tend to skip ahead of the conversation? The main reason is that we think faster than we talk, so we let our minds take over. Instead of being there in the moment, we are ahead of it, spinning our wheels.

This is actually one of the main reasons why people interrupt each other. I used to do it all the time, I couldn’t help myself. The torture of waiting for people to finish talking before I could talk was unbearable.

Not only was I impatient to speak, but I wasn’t really listening in the first place. Interrupting not only reflects a lack of impulse control, but also lack of presence and thinking what to say next. We can’t even wait for the person to finish because we're ready with what we’ve got to say… and we’ve got to say it now.

For people that have a habit of interrupting, the solution is not to control you impulses, although that helps. The solution is to pay full attention to what is being said and keep from thinking about what to say next.

How to overcome the habit of rehearsing what to say next

This communication barrier is simple to overcome. What you need to do is cultivate the habit of paying attention to conversations. As soon as you catch yourself waiting for the person to pause so you can talk, or you find yourself internally rehearsing your reply, bring your focus back to what the other person is saying.