Am I stopping others speaking or creating the space for them to gather their thoughts?

Dear Self,

I’d like to meet a new group of people and know how to behave in a way that supports everyone to have their voice.

I find it difficult.

It feels like I either talk too much or not enough. Like I have too many opinions or don’t say what I am thinking.

Mostly I notice that some of us are ‘first up’ talkers and some of us aren’t.

First up talkers are happy to take the lead, happy to put a question out there, we are even happy to sometimes put the question out there and answer it before we have finished asking it.

Some people prefer to listen in these situations. Happy to watch what is going on and then find the spaces that they would like to fill.

I generally, but not always, fall into the ‘first up’ talker group.

And I can’t work out if I am helping the group out by getting things moving or if I am creating a particular kind of space because I am filling it in a particular kind of way that potentially keeps others out. Am I stopping others speaking or creating the space for them to gather their thoughts?

Being a man and sometimes being a ‘first up’ talker raises another red flag for me. I want all of us to able to be ourselves. Regardless of our gender, or demeanour, or age, or life experience.

I get that it isn’t my job to fix everything. I would like to behave in a way that encourages everyone to speak and to listen in a way that is natural for them.

And I don’t quite know how to do that.

Luke

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