Saturday, October 29, 2005

Asking and pausing

A year or so ago, I signed up for "The TelE-Sales Hot Tips of the Week" e-letter and found many tips for building relationships of influence. This week, the tip was especially relevant to teaching and bears repeating in this space:

One of the best ways to learn about your prospect or customer [or learner] is using a pause at two points in your questioning: after you've asked the question, and after the listener has answered.

Not just a brief pause, but a 2-3 second pause. Here are some of the benefits of this technique.

1. You won't feel compelled to continue talking after asking the question if you force yourself to pause. People don't always immediately answer, and pausing gives them the opportunity to think a bit.
2. The number and length of responses will increase. People feel more comfortable when you give them time to frame their answers, which will likely be more comprehensive.
3. The amount of unsolicited information will increase. By not jumping in immediately after they've answered, they're given a little time to contemplate what they've just said, which may prompt additional comments.
4. You'll have more time to understand what they've said. Since you know you're going to pause, you can spend all of your listening time focused on the message, not on what you will say next.
5. You'll have more time to formulate your next comment. You can use your pause time to develop your next question or statement, which will be more meaningful, since you'll possess more relevant information.
Force yourself to pause after your question, and after they answer... Practice this on the phone and in all areas of your life. You'll find you get more information than you ever have.

Source: Art Sobczak, President, Business By Phone Inc. 13254 Stevens St., Omaha, NE 68137, (402) 895-9399. To sign up for TelE-Sales Tips weekly e-letter, go to and enter your email address.

In working with teachers, I've found there are two significant barriers to pausing after asking. The first is a fear of silence. In our culture, it seems that we view silences as voids to be filled. Perhaps they are, but I've found it beneficial to let others fill them for us. The second barrier is our tendency as teachers to provide answers. Yet, each of us would probably agree that the most significant learning occurs when the learner discovers the answer for herself.

The extraordinary often emerges from the pauses. Ask, pause, and listen.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A breath of fresh air

My wife was "encouraging" our son to turn off the Playstation yesterday and go outside to play. "You need to get some fresh air," she said to him.

He walked across the room, opened the door, stuck his head outside and took a deep breath. "How many breaths do I need?" he asked.

I wonder how often we approach God the same way. A couple of breaths and we're ready to go back to what we were doing.

Take some time today to fill your lungs. Go outside and play. Spend some time with God. Breath deeply.

Monday, October 17, 2005

A few links for Bible Teachers

I was planning for a conference this weekend on training Bible study leaders and collected a few links that are useful ideas and resources to build community, communicate and prepare for Bible study. They are posted here both for the benefit of those I'll meet Saturday as well as for anyone else who happens to drop by!

E-mail and community building

Lesson Preparation

  • - Updated annually, this site includes resources such as the Five Step Formula for Sunday School Growth resource booklet in .PDF format, leadership training plans and evaluation tools for leaders of all age groups and How to Use Curriculum Guides
  • - Gateway to articles and helps for teachers and leaders of all ages
  • - Supplmental teaching resources using current events to help make timely application of Bible truth
  • – Published by Omar C. GarcĂ­a, Minister of Missions and Evangelism at Kingsland Baptist Church in Katy, Texas. Content for all Sunday School leaders including teaching notes, background, fellowship ideas, etc.
  • - Published by an adult Bible teacher at Champion Forest Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. This teacher searches the web weekly for ideas, illustrations, stories, etc. to broaden the Bible study experience
  • - Updated questions to “get people talking” and resources for training
  • - Gateway site to Bible study tools, articles and resources to build strong Christian leaders

Friday, October 07, 2005

Changes... changes... changes...

Been away for a while. We moved last week. After 12 days away from home, I arrived home at midnight on Sat the 24th. Movers came and packed us on Monday, loaded truck on Tuesday, closed on our house sale on Wednesday, drove to Brunswick, GA on Thursday, closed on our house purchase on Friday and moved in that afternoon. Not bad for a week, huh?

Ok, so what's so extraordinary about that? People move all the time, right? Well, yes, I guess so. But, I don't! :)

So, now we're living on the Ga coast. Just north of Brunswick. I awaken in the morning and look out the window across the famed "Marshes of Glynn" and see St. Simons Island in the distance.

I believe God created it... out of nothing at all.... Frankly, I think that's extraordinary.

Every new sunrise brings new opportunities. And if I don't go to bed, I'll miss mine in the morning.....