A few years back, I was mentoring Jen – a much younger friend of mine.

Just a year out of college, Jen had established her own business, consulting with individuals and small firms on personal productivity and office organizing.

Business was good, but not without some occasional bumps and bruises. As a result, we ended up having regularly scheduled conversations, with me as a sounding board. Even when I didn’t have direct expertise to offer, my overall business experience –  combined with being 15 years older  – usually provided some wisdom, insight, or input that was useful enough to get Jen unstuck and move forward.

Because Jen was naturally sociable, enthusiastic, and energizing when interacting with clients, she found herself getting job offers left and right.

“It’s really awkward – I never know what to say!” she told me. “I don’t want a job, but I don’t want to insult them in the middle of our project by declining their offer, either.”

So I suggested she use some form of the statement, “I’d like to consider that.”

She thought it was gold.

I thought it was basic. I’d been using that phrase for years, buying time when I felt forced to make a decision. Or if I needed to do some research before confidently offering my opinion.

Clearly, it was her youth and inexperience that had her so impressed. Or so I thought at the time.

It wasn’t until I became more familiar with communication styles and our related behaviors that I understood what was really going on here.

Instead of going into a long lesson about behavioral psychology, we’ll take a shortcut and use the People Profiler. Answering 8 quick question about how Jen speaks, listens, questions, converses, and moves, provides a plethora of information about her.

Here’s one tidbit about Jen from the results from The People Profiler:

Value to the Organization: Inspires confidence, enthusiasm and teamwork in others, brings fresh ideas for solving problems.

But my a-ha moment for me came from a statement in the “Communication Dont’s” section of the results:

Don’t leave decisions hanging in the air.

That explained it. Jen’s natural behavioral style is to make decisions immediately, so she hadn’t considered using a strategy to delay her response to a client’s offer. Being very self-confident and change-oriented, she wasn’t used to putting off a response.

But I was pretty darned skilled at it.

See for yourself – if we pull up my results page from The People Profiler, we’ll get this advice:

Don’t force them to respond quickly – they need time to think.

No truer words were ever spoken typed.

Now, if we were to look deeper into my DISC assessment (on which The People Profiler is based), we’d find that my naturally low sense of urgency and my highly analytical nature drive me to automatically delay decisions until I’ve collected evidence to support my opinion. Otherwise, I feel great stress.

So, after a few life experiences where I felt pushed into a response or a decision, I learned to acknowledge a person’s inquiry, concurrently buying time to perform my due diligence: “Interesting. I’d like to consider that and talk a bit more. Can I call you tomorrow?”

Maybe Jen was right after all: that statement is gold.


This post was originally published at BalancedWorkLife.