Step aside duck and cover. There’s a new practice in town; stop and talk. Duck and cover was a phrase, popular in the 1950s, to describe the immediate actions necessary to protect yourself in the event of a nuclear explosion. Stop and talk could be even more important.
We’ve likely all said, “Hi, how are you,” or something similar, as we walked toward someone at work. Not waiting for an answer, the reply often came from behind us after our co-worker passed by. About six years ago, while working for the University of California, I tried ‘stop and talk’ instead.
It started the same way, “Hi, how are you,” but the similarity ended there. By slowing my pace as I started the greeting, I was comfortably able to stop before passing my co-worker. My stopping caused them to cease forward motion too and suddenly, for a few moments, we found ourselves conversing.
This is not earth-shattering communication magic. It was just caring enough about someone to give them a few seconds of undivided attention. Since then, I’ve tried to make this more of a regular practice and have enjoyed numerous situations where conversations blossomed when I least expected one.
How about you? Is Stop and Talk something you could do? Could it be something we should do?
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