Hold your tongue.

A quick guide to how to get the best out of meetings / appointments / lectures / telephone conversations!

Everyone has days where it just seems that everybody wants to talk to you, whether you’re at the post office, the garage, through instant messaging on the computer, by telephone, the neighbour chatting over the garden fence… everybody just seems to want to talk to you!

And then the 10 minutes or so of “quiet time” you do actually get, you find aren’t that quiet at all because of the internal chatter that has since started up – wow, you are popular – even you wants to talk to you!

Whilst every behaviour does have at least one positive intention (regardless of how resourceful the behaviour), sometimes it just feels like we need a break from the chatter inside our heads.

Meditation is useful, but I certainly get times when my unconscious mind still won’t let me meditate even when I’ve hung the sign up on the door to my conscious saying “Back in 10 minutes – meditation in progress…”

No, those little voices still seem to want to have their input into something or other so seemingly trivially desperate, or desperately trivial.

Sometimes – all that’s needed is to say “Thank you”. I’m serious – try it the next time your little voices keep going on and on at you! Say to those little voices (and mean it!)

“Thank you for letting me know you have something to say. I will deal with this in *insert time period*.”

Keep repeating “Thank you” whlilst breathing deeply and you will find a surprising quiet starts. Cool or what?

Sometimes more drastic measures can be taken – for instance you might need to listen ‘NOW’, within a meeting, an appointment, talking on the phone with someone. Those times when we really need to truly LISTEN fully.

It’s fabulous – and it works! Would you like to know the secret?

Can you hold your tongue?

That’s it. That’s the secret. No, I haven’t gone mad – try it now.

  • Take the forefinger and thumb of whichever hand you feel most comfortable with (as long as it’s clean!),
  • slightly stick your tongue out
  • grasp tongue (gently!) with aforementioned appendages
  • breathe deeply, three times.

So apart from realising you might be getting some strange looks for sitting there holding your tongue – how are those internal voices doing? Quieter or gone, now?

This is because when we have internal dialogue or whether we’re writing notes in a lecture, or a meeting there are micro-movements that happen in your tongue.

By physically ‘holding’ your tongue – you stop the micromovements and the quietness takes over.

If you really have to concentrate on a lecture, or in a meeting – take some sort of recording device with you to record the whole thing. This stops the action of the micromuscles within our system that happen when writing, which can cause the internal chatter to start up! In this way, you can keep completely quiet on the inside and fully absorb the information around you.

But Zoe…” I hear some of you say… “I can’t sit in a meeting/lecture sticking my tongue out and holding it…

Why not?

OK, no, that’s maybe not a good idea. However, you can do something else instead. With the tip of your tongue, gently touch the back of your front teeth, and then move it back to where the roof of your mouth starts to arch upwards and place the tip of your tongue there.

This will have the same effect – it stops the micro-movements in your tongue and enables you to truly listen and absorb the information around you.

Give it a whirl and let me know how you get on!

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