Marie Forleo introduction


I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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I just got back from a week in Santa Barbara with Team Forleo.

The fireplace kept us cozy and the shining sun was fuel for my soul. While California is gorgeous this time of year, the best part was just spending quality time with people I love.

Each woman brought so much heart, bravery, vulnerability, strength and focus to each day — it was truly awe inspiring.

Now during these retreats we make big decisions. And we don’t always start out (or end) on the same page.

If I'm going to learn, I must do it by listening.” @KingsThings Click To Tweet

But getting to the best and wisest path to move ahead often requires respectful but spirited debates.

We do our best to make sure that everyone has a chance to speak up and be heard — which is no easy task with a loudmouth like me around :).

Since you’re likely spending more time than usual with family and friends during the holidays (where there might be some loudmouths like me!!)…

I wanted to give you a simple yet genius technique that will help you be more persuasive, charismatic and powerful — in just 3 seconds flat. Bam!

Don’t let the simplicity of this strategy fool you. It can change your life and, more importantly, the lives of those around you.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

Listen Now

In every conversation and every confrontation you may come across, know that someone will always be asking:

Are you listening to me? Did you hear what I have to say? Do I even matter to you?

Today’s video is just one small step to help demonstrate that the answer to those questions is a resounding, and honest, yes!

Remember, the most important thing you can do for another human being is to validate their existence. So be brave, be awkward.

Now, I’d love to hear from you. And this week, we’ve got a two-parter.

1. When it comes to listening, what’s your worst listening habit? Is it interrupting, planning out what you’re going to say, fake listening — like checking email or your phone, or something else?

2. Where’s the single most impactful place you can start using the Intentional Awkward Pause? Is it at work, with your friends or with your family?

Leave a comment below and let us know.

Remember, thousands of beautiful souls visit each week to find inspiration and share their passion.

Be specific in your comment because what you have to say is worthy and important and could be the “aha” that someone else really needs.

Thank you as always for reading, sharing and joining in!


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  1. This is so important. You can listen and not really hear someone. Being heard is one of the most valuable gifts you can give. I know it’s something I still struggle with as my teenager turns 17 on Thursday. Let us pray. 🙂

    • This is so great, Lisa–and yes, listening to a teen is a huge gift. I don’t have kids, but looking at the way people interact with my friends’ kids, it’s like we listen to little ones but then stop listening when they get older. And I can still remember how frustrating that could be! Happy birthday to your soon-to-be 17-year-old!

      • Thanks, Jessica. And for me, the lesson was in listening to him even when he wasn’t listening to me. That’s really hard. It’s easy to fall into “an eye for an eye” and forget they’re teens, still learning and growing.

        • Lisa Hatherly

          Wow Lisa I really resonate with all that you’ve said although I go through the same thing with my 4 and 6 year old boys. In a house of males, I often struggle to have anyone truly listen to me – even my husband at times. And then I can find myself in that pattern and I’m too busy trying to get my message across to them – I end up not listening to them! Thanks for giving me a different perspective – perhaps this can help me through the communication barriers and frustrations.

    • Agreed, Lisa. Listening validates the other.

    • Good luck, Lisa! She must appreciate how much her mother works on herself ;). Listening to a teen is equivalent to giving them respect, which is huge in their eyes! It’s so valuable.

      • Laura, if ONLY I had daughters. I’m in a house FULL of male energy, which makes it even more difficult (and important) that I practice really hearing what my kids are saying… and I confess, it’s really hard sometimes to stay the course. Good thing i get LOTS of practice. 🙂

        • Haha, not sure why I thought you had a daughter! Maybe I was just projecting from my own relationship with my mom 😉 I don’t know how you do it but you’re AWESOME! 😀

    • OMG Marie, we both did a segment on listening the same week! 🙂 I too have an on-going struggle with being the best listener I can be! I tend to multitask instead of “being there” and I’ve got to do better in that department. As always thank you for your insights and stories. Love them, love you!

    • great advice… thanks.

      1. I am guilty of all 3.
      2. I will use it at my gym.

  2. I definitely do too much planning out what I’m going to say next. The idea that I don’t have to jump right in and have a response (with clients, especially) is huge. I’ll definitely put the IAP to work this week on the calls I have scheduled with clients and see what happens with it. Thanks Marie!

  3. Completely agree, Marie. Listening is the key to connection. People feel affirmed simply by being heard.

    I have to stop myself from jumping to conclusions…especially with people I already know. Depending on how patient I am that day, I might wait for them to finish or interrupt. It’s not cute. I’m working on just being present and open to the possibility that something different may happen. And when I’m open to that possibility, it usually does. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

    Connection is always worth it.

    • Love “connection is always worth it,” Emelia! That’s such a powerful reminder of the whole reason we communicate in the first place. Thank you!

    • “Connection is always worth it”.

      This struck me right between the eyes. Thanks for this. 🙂

  4. Presence. For me it’s all about presence.

    In presence I can let go of jugements and the whirlwind of thoughts and create space for magic to happen.

    Presence is powerful. Deep listening from a place of grounded presence creates miracles.

    Happy Joyful Holidays!

    • Caroline… YES! What you wrote totally resonates with me.

      I was going to reply that for me, the key place for me to practise the IAP is in the classroom, in front of my students. I’m so quick to jump in with a response sometimes, and yet I can feel my powerful presence diminishing when I do that.

      Some people are naturally fast speakers (Marianne Williamson) and have a huge amount of presence, but I often notice that people who talk at a hundred miles a minute don’t have as much presence as they could.

      Breathe deep, trust in my own voice and what I have to say, and listen with a wide open heart.

      Thank you. I love the concept of deep listening.


      • Elloa, your response made me stop in my tracks! “…people who talk at a hundred miles a minute don’t have as much presence as they could.” I’m not normally a fast talker, but I just started teaching (adults) a class on Infinite Possibilities, and I realized after the first class how much I talked and gave information and tried to share every possible thing I knew and how little I actually listened or gave the class time to digest the information. Luckily I corrected course after the first class and eliminated half of what I wanted to teach. That’s when things got really juicy and the sharing took off. I’d been seeing it as an issue of value, but if I’m going to reach my goal of being a top tier Infinite Possibilities Trainer and fabulous public speaker, cultivating presence on stage is not negotiable. So thank you for your comment, which almost gave me whiplash it was that impactful for me!

      • I find I am much more present, and listening from that deeper place when I listen to understand instead of listening to respond.


        • Linda

          HUGE! carrie….I love that you reminded me of this. Some time ago I got it that there is no real communication without understanding…just a sharing of information. Listening to understand is the key to good communication….with anyone. Thanks again.

  5. So agree Marie I am guilty of doing other things while listening on the phone. I notice that I always ask the person to repeat something important so now I just get comfortable and listen or tell them if I am in the middle of something that I want to give them my full attention and will call back in 15 minutes if it can wait.

    I am also practicing that more and more with my 6 year old. You want to learn about listening? Kids will teach you that because they have endless things to talk about and they make sure you stop everything you are doing so they have your undivided attention.

    With adults listening and watching body language carefully teaches me a lot about the person.

  6. Arrrgh! I’m guilty on all counts….interrupting, thinking of what brilliant mind-bomb I’m going to drop, and “fake” listening. I’m so ashamed to admit that!!!

    However, I can say I’m getting better (good grief, you’d expect that after more than half a century on this plant…no?!?!?)

    My Mr. and I had a tense night last night. We’re both very tired and had some tough days so we got snippy at each other but I was mystified at how it all got started. When we finally did break the couple-hour silence I asked “what happened here?”…AND THEN I ACTUALLY LISTENED!

    To my amazement I realized that I completely missed some loving messaging he was giving me when I first got home. He felt dismissed and hurt. I was so lost in my own bad day that I was all about me…ugly.

    I apologized for my part in how that evening went down and he took ownership for his. We’re all good and I learned a valuable lesson 🙂

    • dj

      Wow, what a powerful example of putting your listening skills to task, and with a loved one no less! Thanks for sharing Ree, what a beautiful, effective way to connect …through the hurt, not around or under. Hats off!

  7. Very cool! It’s actually also a tip for interviewers! I try to do it more often on my podcast now and whenever I want to have a meaningful conversation with somebody.

    Marie, you look gorgeous!!

  8. Loved this video. I have been practicing this for years and this particular tip has been instrumental in my practice of holding space for others.

    Also, the dress is amazing!!!


    • Yes! I totally SUCK at listening. It’s like this…I know I suck,yet I keep on doing it the way I always did! Ok, Marie, for one week I am going to focus on making a new habit. Wait until they are finished and THEN a 3 second pause! Thank you!

  9. Mary

    Hi Marie: Great show today!
    For 12 years I facilitated a support group for parents who experienced the death of a baby or young child. While it took me a little time to master the IAP, it was an essential tool for listening. And depending on the situation, it could be a really long IAP so that the parent could gather their thoughts and start talking again. The awkwardness in the room was palpable. But over time as the same people returned to the group and knew what to expect, it was only awkward for the new people. But since they received such a warm welcome, it always turned out well.
    I always believed that my most successful support group meetings were the ones when barely spoke.
    I am not doing this work any longer, but the skill has been so helpful in raising my four children and being a good listener in general.

    Happy holidays to all!

    • Joy

      Thank you for sharing this. I’m working toward becoming a hospital chaplain, and you reminded me how important it is to give our pure, courageous presence in the face of suffering. That’s so much more valuable than the platitudes so common in this kind of work.

  10. Alright, Universe! I hear you! lol

    Every morning I pray and I do my mirror work: I’ve determined that “connection” is one of my core desired feelings, so it is a big part of my conversation with God. This message is really speaking to me right now and is right on time.

    In order for me to strengthen my connections with the people in my life and create lasting connections with the people that I meet, I need to listen more. I constantly have things to say. I jump in, I share advice even when I’m not asked, and I am always thinking about what I should say next. Listening is a fine art that I have yet to master, but now is definitely the time. 🙂 Thanks for this message!

    • Lari

      OMG you wrote exactly what I was going to write.

  11. Thanks Marie! I’m going to put this into practice during a great networking event tonight and a new business meeting tomorrow. May have to bite my tongue a lot, but will do it! Considering this a new practice, like yoga!

  12. I so needed this reminder. I am always wanting to give my solution thoughts as I see myself helping but in reality I’m helping more by listening deeper. I’m like you Marie, not easy to sit and shut up! Constant work in progress. My sensitive husband use to say all the time “I’m over here” , Pointing to his eyes! He helped me stay present and come a long way (proud he hasnt said it in years).

  13. In my house, I’m sort of (okay I am) a drill sargeant when it comes to my kids and them getting the stuff done that needs to get done. They’re getting older and both get super frustrated when I don’t listen to them.

    So instead of getting mad, I listen to them and then address their concerns. This way they feel heard and they’re happier, even if they have to do something they don’t want to. (I’m the loud mouth in my family too!)

  14. This message really resonates with me and is extremely timely as well. I’ve been having a lot of ‘heavy’ conversations with friends and family lately, in which truly listening is so important. To answer Marie’s two questions:

    1. My worst listening habit is interrupting, but it comes from a good place. I seem to want to help people complete THEIR thoughts and too often supply and ending to their sentences. I’m trying to be encouraging, but it’s still interrupting (and not allowing them to really express themselves) and I’m really trying to curb it.

    2. I’m already more practiced at offering silent pauses in business conversations. Where I really need to put it to work is with family members, where we all have an ingrained habit of jumping in/fighting for air time.

    Thank you, everyone, for the discussion!

  15. Oh…mah…gah. I am ALWAYS reminding myself to stfu already! Because let’s face it, nobody likes when they’re trying to tell a story and have to keep steering things back on track because someone else keeps derailing with their own little tidbits and interjections. Ugh.

    Today, I’m gonna just zip it and see how it goes. 🙂

  16. sue

    Love this. For sure this is the key to success in my business. When we tune in and listen more our prospects unfold right in front of us. They come up with names of people that they can share our products with and people who would like to join our business on their own. It’s such a hard lesson and I have recently made a shift from steam rolling over people after my presentation (yikes!) and making not so subtle suggestions about how they can do things to just asking one question and then waiting to hear what they have to say. It works like a charm as the smart cookies that I’m talking to don’t need any help from me. Plus when they come up with the answers they don’t feel like they are being “convinced” of anything and are more willing to participate! Passing your video along to my team. Thank you!
    PS. how about a twofer…. taking the family to NYC for the holiday…what is your favorite Italian restaurant? thanks! xo Sue

  17. Kathleen Buckley

    Also GUILTY and I’m thinking it’s because I’m always in such a flippin’ rush; as if I don’t have the time to actually listen to someone. Also, I DO actually forget what I’m going to say if I don’t blurt it out. To move into the place I want to be I need to master this art. Very powerful observation that it’s actually people talking creating their own insight. I’m not going to teach them anything they won’t better learn hearing it come out of their own mouth!

  18. Timely video for the holidays!

    I started trying this with my family a few months ago. But in my case, the awkward pause was *so* different from my usual…well…”me”, they actually thought the opposite. Said it appeared appeared I was dazed or something, instead of listening. Your video inspires me to try again, maybe with a shorter, less “dazed looking” pause. Maybe I need to just play your video whisper wind sound in my head, then talk when it’s over.

    Thanks for the tips!

  19. Mina Emad

    Hi Marie,
    Greetings from Egypt!
    Really I loved this video. I’m always trying to practise it in my life everyday
    Big thanks

  20. Hi Marie,


    First answer- I nod. I nod and what that is, really, is my head wiggling to keep my FAB ideas from falling out. I say, uhhuh, hmm…nod nod nod and all of it is just to keep me busy til it is my turn to talk.

    Second answer- with my teens. I have seen the IAP work already… similar…but nasty me…sometimes that IAP comes across as the sanctimontius OHIAMRESERVINGJUDGEMENTONYOUBUTIAMFULLOF judgement….sheesh. So, I will use the IAP. Just zip and witness what is in front me.
    Thank you for great content. As always.
    Taking it to the streets today.

  21. It never ceases to amaze me how much these skills are becoming more important while people are simultaneously becoming less and less comfortable with face-to-face interactions. Thank you SO much for this!

  22. Love this. I try to use this with clients, but I find that my worst habit is thinking about how I can respond or even worse – my facial expressions!! They have been getting me into trouble with my honey for years – I listen, my mouth says “perfect!”, but my face says “WTF?!”. I am definitely working on this one.
    I think I can use this more with my clients, in my videos, and again, with my honey. It will give time to check myself before I wreck myself, and to really give them space and let things sink in.
    PS Also think this would be good to use around the interrupters aka my mom. Maybe using this would start to rub off and allow them to listen more as well? What do you think?

  23. ……………… WOW after my 3 second pause I just want to say Thank you!
    I always thought an immediate response was necessary to be a good conversationalist! You know…. jump right in with enthusiasm, support and insight and I am ‘hearing’ that ain’t so….. I am going to use this little nugget of wisdom for the rest of the holidays and try it on for size!!!
    Thank you Marie!!!

  24. Jane

    I think most people are aware of the IAP however I think IAP has real limits, also which is really the main reason why people don’t use it more.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of people out there who just never shut up, constantly interrupt, and assume that your pausing is consent, agreeing that they are right, lack of intelligence or knowledge, or the end of a conversation.

    If you use the IAP with these people you will get steamrollered and walked all over and grow old waiting for your chance to exhale! As they will never give you a chance or listen to what you have to say.

    I think this is the real reason that most of us interrupt, if we didn’t, we would never be heard, never get a word in edgewise and just be steamrolled over by other people.

    • jennifer c

      true that some people WILL take the IAP as consent to keep going (witness Marie’s story of meeting for coffee taking 3 hours?), but in this case it’s helpful to remain present with them and keep giving attention and maybe give the occasional verbal “mmmm hmmm” and “did you really” and “uh huh”

      It’s always your choice to end a conversation or decline to speak with them the next time. Practicing being fully present as someone speaks is can reap benefits, and doing it well trains you to know if someone is really in a relationship with you or if s/he is just an energy vampire.

  25. Such a great topic and so timely, as usual, Marie. I must admit I am one of those people who needed to learn to really sloooooow down and listen. In my work, I constantly come up with ideas and get paid, in part, to brainstorm solutions to marketing struggles. Given that, I was always very focused on the person speaking, but…. I was also guilty of jumping in with way too many ideas at one time. Over time, I realized I risked overwhelming the client so… I really turned things around so that helping people with the digital overwhelm is now a core pillar to my business. And in life, I have learned over the years to slow down and be truly present, as well. I always want to pack the most into a session with a client or time with family and friends, but have made a big shift in how I approach time in general. Because I have realized it can be difficult for anyone to process so much new info, I have pulled back and hold myself from jumping in with too many ideas. And in life, I cherish those moments where I can just “be” with family and friends. That’s where the real progress and connection often takes place. Thanks so much again, Marie!

  26. I learned this rule from Steven Covey over 20yrs ago, it says “Seek First To Understand, Then To Be Understood” but honestly…. I am still learning to do it! I’m an Aries who wants to fix everything for everyone. It’s helped me so often tho, so I do my best to follow it.

  27. I love your advice, and I LOVE how you make me laugh out loud during EVERY episode!!

    You’re right that most of us suck at listening….even when we think we’re GOOD at listening!

    I’m totally going to try this over the holidays. Thanks as always for great advice! Merry Christmas, Marie!

  28. Thank you for this reminder Marie (and Tana – love that woman!).

    I’m probably the worst with my partner. He’ll be telling me about something while I’m cleaning up the kitchen and I’ll interrupt when I get distracted. He gets soooo frustrated.

    It’s a tool that I already use with my clients, but I could probably use it even more.

    I was introduced to a more extreme version of this tool by my dear friend James Wells. I was having relationship issues, and he suggest taking 10 minutes each to talk without the other person interrupting.

    Well, I never did use it in my relationship, but I used it the next time I went out for dinner with my siblings. My sister and I are always interrupting my brother and telling him what he should do. Letting him talk for 10 minutes without interrupting was one of the most illuminating things I’ve ever done. He was uncertain at first, and I had to shut my sister down a couple of times, but he ended up sharing some big and sometimes really painful stuff with us.

    Love you always Marie and team,

  29. Marie –
    The IAP is a great acronym for an important function in communication and connection. I always say that listening is the most intimate act you can do with your clothes on.

    As to your two-parter: my worst listening habit is interrupting. Fast brain, fast mouth. Hard to slow down when I’m with a slow talker (lots of them here in the Southwest), but essential to connection. Where IAP could be most powerful? Probably when someone says something mean, racist, or just dumb. Rather than biting back, IAP might just say it all, letting that skunk lie there and stink by itself.

  30. H

    My worst habit is when i’m on the phone, most of the time, i’m on my computer at the same time and sometimes i literally squeeze a part of the conversation.
    That also why i need a real conversation, i prefer take a coffee, put my iphone in my bag, and make the connection with the people in front of me.

    I use IAP on my work coaching, I let my clients speak about what they have inside and listen to them really carefully, for me sometimes the only work is to let them proclaim their truth, the work to create in their life their truth is then easier, because it comes from them and my job is only to give them tools.
    Very important that people keep their power on their truth.

  31. oh! I wished i looked at you before a call today. i really felt i was talking to much even meanwhile i was talking and i could not stop myself. It thought i lost this costumer, that he thought i was horrible to invite to his company.
    I WANT to be better, Must, Will, Need…..times when i have done it I always feel good even it is uncomforteble….thanks for remainding me Marie!

  32. UH

    Worst habit? I interrupt people. And I have been told many, many times that I do this by people who meant well with me. I try hard not to, but it keeps happening. When I notice it, I interrupt myself and say it: “Sorry, I interrupted you. Do go on with what you were saying.” But I feel best when I manage not to interrupt people. Especially when I am coaching, I see the client’s own ideas and solutions unfold in front of us without me saying a word.

    I will use the IAP tonight with my colleagues at the beautiful Christmas market.

  33. Hannah

    I don’t speak up when I should!

    • Jaime

      Yes, what do you do with this? I don’t know if this is what you mean but for me I always feel like I don’t have the right thing to say in conversations and only after thinking ahead (usually while the other is talking!), can I come up with something meaningful. Otherwise it’s just all awkward pauses and fake “oh, yeah”, “uh huh”, “wow, that’s crazy” type of comments!!

      • Hey Jamie, I wonder if things would open up for you if you let go of the idea of having the “right” thing to say and just allow yourself to respond authentically. There really is no “right or wrong” just realness, or you-ness 🙂 Also, I find that being genuinely curious about the other person and their experience generates conversation and connection.

        • Jaime

          Carrie thank you for your comments. You are right, the most charismatic people I can think of are always the ones who have that genuine curiosity for others. Maybe I’m just so out of practice or over-try but I find that even the times when I really am genuinely interested in someone, I can’t seem to express it effectively. I think I must suffer from SA (Social Awkwardness) lol and I hate it! I wonder if there is a way to help cultivate our genuine authentic selves. If so, I would love to make that a resolution goal as something to strive for and continuously work on in the new year and beyond. If Marie was interested in doing a video workshop on something like this, I think that would be so great and I’d be so appreciative!

  34. Haha, I laughed out loud when I first realized what “technique” you were talking about, Marie! So true!

    Gosh, I struggle with this so much as well! But I’m getting better day by day. I think of it as honoring the other person’s space. I don’t want to intrude into it with my fix-it energy, I want to let it always be their space. Even if I guide them along, it’s in a nonintrusive manner, more like a mirror.

    Thanks for this great video, Marie! Awesome as always.

  35. + A genuine smile. It’s amazing how much that can communicate.

  36. This is incredibly good advice, Marie.
    Can it work in a different way? I have a tendency to talk a lot while my husband hardly talks at all. Would being quiet more provoke him to open up to me?
    Anyone else have some thoughts?

  37. Marie, I have such a bad habit of interrupting people but thanks to my my very honest (and loving) husband he has pointed this out to me and I try so hard to keep my mouth shut and let others talk. I’ve definitely gotten better but I also catch myself doing it so it’s always a work in progress.

    Thank you for the stellar reminder. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season,

  38. I am SO guilty of fake listening – especially to my husband. I do almost none of it with my clients – but being a graphic designer I HAVE to really listen to what people are saying.

    I love the idea of an IAP – I do that a lot unintentionally and once you do something intentionally it can change everything! So, I will definitely practice 1. not fake listening to my family and 2. Intentionally pausing!

    Thanks Marie – awesome as always.

  39. Oooh, you got me. Yep.

    I’m constantly thinking about the next thing – to say, to do, to accomplish. It’s become and ingrained habit to not spend time in the ‘now’.

    And funny enough, I frequently have anxiety about “the right thing to say” to someone in a given situation… but it just hit me that IT’S NOT ALWAYS UP TO ME TO SAY SOMETHING! I don’t always have to have the answers or pull something out of my hat.

    For today, I’m going to be ultra conscious of auto-responding. Thanks, Marie 🙂

  40. Jen

    Always a good reminder. One of my worst offenses is definitely thinking of something “important” to add to a conversation in the middle of someone else’s statement. Then the rest of their statement I end up concentrating on what I want to tell them. hahaha.

    • That’s definitely mine, too. I’m afraid that somehow I’ll forget what I want to say if I don’t start thinking it up immediately.

  41. Love this video, Marie! Awesome reminder for all the wonderful holiday gatherings coming up.

    When I was watching, I realized that I do IAP already. Then I realized I only do IAP with certain people and situations. OK, major reflection moment! Why do I do IAP only sometimes?

    I need to sit with that question for awhile, and monitor myself this week.

    My worst listening habit is fake listening with friends and family on the phone. I can be on the phone talking with someone, but also checking messages on the phone and computer, helping my four year old, and cooking. Will work on being completely present when I am on the phone.

  42. Listening makes people come close, interrupting makes them back away. It is a good exercise to watch family, business associates, new friend as the converse with you. Are they coming close or pulling away- is the conversation getting deeper or staying light and fluffy. Do you want a deeper relationship with said person?
    Great spot light on silience in the middle if a blazingly buzy season!

  43. Marie, thank you for bringing this up! What a great topic before the holidays… where we are almost certain to be able to use this to connect more deeply with our family and friends.

    I was a therapist for a while and quickly learned how valuable silence is. The “IAP” may feel awkward at first… but primarily as the person being quiet. The other party will feel listened to, which isn’t awkward, it’s nice! It gives people the space to explore and express. And if you’re mindful, gives you the opportunity to truly listen.

    My worst IAP offending comes in when I feel uncomfortable or anxious… that’s when I notice myself filling in the spaces of conversation and silence feels like forever. Taking a deep breath is a good reset.

  44. Sandra

    Loved this video! I am a Life Coach and listening is what I do. People want to be heard and acknowledged. We can’t tap into or intuition and be of service to others if we are chattting away…must stop and take the pause. Thanks!

  45. Boy, did I need to watch this. I am TERRIBLE about interrupting people, and this gives me a skill to hone so I can get better about it. Thanks for sharing 🙂 IAP & Upward!

  46. Heather

    Listening is by FAR the most important connector between people. People KNOW when you are really listening and they soooo appreciate a true listening experience. They feel validated, acknowledged, heard, etc. Engaged listening brings out the BEST in people—the deep and the real.

  47. Great story about your stepson!

    I need to start listening better to anyone I engage with!

    Thanks for the reminder.

  48. Hi my name is Nakeia and I am a serious interruption offender. LOL

    I usually justify it by saying my time for long conversations is limited. So, I try to jump in, if I believe I have enough information, to keep it short. I know, I know!!

    I just had to call a friend to work through how we are going to improve our communication skills—AND— I totally have this issue with my husband.

    I am going to use the 3 second paused in every area ( I already texted my man about it!)

    Good stuff Marie!


  49. Alison

    I am the interrupter. I am aware of this and practice listening. But this is a great reminder. I had a mentor once who would always nod and listen intently. It clearly caught my eye bc I’m still talking about it. I get so enthused by conversations that I want to jump in. But it is more effective to listen. I also had another mentor actually call me out on interrupting and that’s when the bandaid got ripped off and I had to confront my need to interject. I wouldn’t even let someone finish a sentence! I have to be like “woah Alison…chill out.” Then I just listen to what is being said.

  50. LOVED the video Marie, I am soooooo guilty of the “fake” listening. I listen like speed readers, read. I only glean what I think I need to know to participate leaving many of the details hanging in space. I also jump in too soon when my son is sharing (which doesn’t happen very often….probably why he doesn’t) So will work on both of these issues but am most anxious to see how it works with my son! Thanks for all you do Queen Marie!

  51. Bekah

    This is crazy! I’m taking an online workshop for digital storytelling and one of the biggest things I’ve learned (am learning) from the course is how to be silent and let people talk. They’ll fill in the awkward silence – often times with something pretty amazing. Because of this technique, I was able to get some pretty amazing interviews from strangers. People want to talk and have an innate need to be listened to.

    This young woman answered the question: “What are you afraid of?” And she went pretty deep.

    Thanks, Marie! Love this one!

  52. The Intentional Awkward Pause–I love it! I agree that most of the time, we think we’re being great listeners, but we’re often (without being aware of it) simply trying to think of our latest, greatest wisdom to impart in our response. 😉 This is actually a great reminder to be more present, be more aware of the stillness in between noise and moments in life–to know that we can always access that place of stillness, from which, if we give ourselves (and our conversation partner) enough time, much better, more thoughtful responses will emerge.

  53. My former boss used to use this technique but his intentions were not as kind as yours Marie. He’d use it to intimidate and set people up to self-incriminate by twisting the words they’d blurted out in an attempt to avoid the silence he’d blanket on the room while he stared you down.
    After 5 years of watching him do it to other people he began doing it to me when he learned about my online business and was not too happy about it. I eventually learned to play at his game and would stare him down in silence while literally biting the inside of my lower lip to keep my mouth shut. Occasionally I’d even rest my elbow on the chairs armrest and cover my mouth with my fingers to keep my lips together.

    It worked. I out-awkwarded him, and then I quit that messed up place.

    It was a powerful lesson which you have given me a more healthy context in which to apply it.

    I spoke last week at a TEDx event and someone from the audience got up and shared this tip “Sometimes, the best thing you can do is just shut up.”

    Amen. I’m done now!

  54. ………………………………………. That was my awkward silence. YES! This is a great point and I love it. I’ve found that people sometimes have their own answers to life’s great questions if I just shut the Hell up and let them go.

    Very funny video… as usual.

  55. Great video!
    I am a good listener, my wonderful career demands that, however, I do have a “habit” of interrupting, that will change as of today now that I am inspired by The Awkward Pause.

    Thanks Marie, you make it so easy!

  56. I am always giving feedback or interrupting a conversation. When I am present and listening I dont do this back. I am going to start practicing this.

    I do it with everyone but I am going to start with my husband and family to practice this now during the holidays. I am waiting to hear back on when I can send a video to you for your b-school. I was told that I will get an email in Feb sometime.

  57. Great video, thank you Marie. This is an extremely important topic because connecting to someone is really about listening to them on a deeper level and being there for them.

    The only person that I often interrupt is my partner because I get so excited to be with him that I end up over sharing. I have found our connection to be even more powerful when I just stop myself and let him talk and listen. This is when he opens up to me on a whole new level and our connection is richer.

    I am very grateful to my partner for being the person to allow me the space to be freely myself and share from that place of authenticity, as that is where I have had the opportunity to share the most. I know that a balance in listening and sharing is key because it brings people together.

  58. I agree that listening is the most important element in a conversation. I learned this while teaching. Sometimes, I would find myself so eager to help a student that I would only get half the story/problem, and they would come back to my office 2 or 3 times still trying to resolve the same issue…well, then I started to listen, let them speak/tell their story until they were finished, and then I’d listen some more when I ask the question “How do you think this problem can be resolved?”…I’d listen, and usually they would work it out for themselves. Sometimes, WE JUST NEED TO LISTEN! –or have a “I.A.P.”

  59. Hi Marie,
    Thanks for sharing a personal story today – your relationship with your stepson adds a new layer to your teachings and I’m grateful. I’m a mom of four, the kids are ages 5,7,9, 21 (my stepdaughter), and I agree that the IAP is an amazing use of awkwardness. Our silence makes them think we expect them to say more, so they do. Brilliant! Compassionate eye contact is a must, though. Otherwise they think we’re ignoring them. (And that happens, too, sometimes. 😉
    p.s. OBSESSED with your dress.

  60. Need to stop talking over people (eg. start with husband!). Slow my inner process down so that I am not 5 steps ahead of people. Thanks Marie!

  61. this silence doesn’t feel awkward to me, more like waiting I would say.
    In any case being a patience listener is always good for us.

    Keep it up Marie!

  62. Lauren B

    I don’t know what it is about me but when I’m trying to do something new/learn something new, having a label for it makes a world of difference. I’ve been trying to listen and keep my trap shut but somehow the trap keeps flying open. I feel like having the IAP label (and knowing that I’m not the only one itching to blurt out whatever it is I feel like contributing) will be very helpful to me. Heading into a season of parties, I’ll be practicing this every chance I get. Thanks!

  63. Great lesson today, Marie! I loved your quote from Larry King!

    I’m guilty of thinking about what I’m going to say while someone’s talking AND “fake listening”. I’ve found that I can really reduce the fake listening if I sit on the couch while talking to someone on the phone vs. sitting at my computer. 🙂

    I’m going to practice your IAP technique during the holidays when my family will be home. My full attention will be my gift to them.

    Happy holidays!
    Heather xo

  64. From a business perspective this is the key to avoiding miscommunication. I find it especially important to allow clients to feel heard before offering solutions or proposing a game plan, even if the solution or game plan in questions is one that is often applied in a variety of situations. Listening to your clients much like Marie’s example of her step son will strengthen their bond to you and your company and they will become clients for life.

  65. Diana

    Well, I have this ingrained notion that all conversations must be constant back and forth in order to be lively. I have very memories of my mother not talking…it’s true! And so, growing up with that, I received the Great Gift of Gab. When I need to, I can talk to anyone and everyone about anything. The problem is, I’m always looking ahead to see how I can show the other people how I understand what they’re saying…by relating it directly to me. Ooooo, burn. The conversation is all about me? Since when, Diana?! And so, the times that I have consciously stepped back and made the conversation about THEM, the results have been incredible. This technique of IAP will be especially helpful in talking with my best friend, who lives in another state, and my family. I have plans to start a styling business specifically for Gen Y men in the city who do not enjoy shopping. They need a pair of listening ears more than just supportive advice.

    • Diana

      EDIT: *I have very few memories of my mother not talking…

  66. Diana

    EDIT: *I have very few memories of my mother not talking…

  67. What great advice! I’ll have to practice this with my boyfriend (who has mentioned he doesn’t feel heard at times), as well as friends and family. I have ADD, so sometimes even listening to myself is challenge! This is a great tool. Thanks for sharing it!

  68. kathleen rose

    Great episode, Marie. I laughed out loud at the Scrubs clip!

    Now, I’ve felt shy and awkward basically my whole life, and am more of a listener than a talker, but still, I am realizing that I am not even so great at truly listening!

    1. My worst listening habit is letting my mind race and run wild with thoughts while the other person is talking. As an introvert I like to think out what I am going to say before I say it, which usually means I’m thinking of it while the other person is talking. I avoid awkward pauses like my life depends on it, but you are so right Marie, that they are so needed! Being present and really focusing on what the other person is saying is so important.

    2. I’m going to start using the IAP in conversations with my mom especially. We have always butted heads a bit (my dad says it’s because we are so alike). I seem to naturally want to argue with her! I’m going to try to really listen to her from now on, I think it will help a lot. Also I’m going to work on listening with everyone I interact with!

  69. Jaime

    Okay I mentioned this under someone else’s comment below but not sure if it applied to what they intended to mean so here it goes again!

    What do you do with this? If someone had good advice, articles or books to look up on this topic I would LOVE it! Speaking about working on charisma— I always feel like I don’t have the right thing to say in conversations and only after thinking ahead (usually while the other is talking!), can I come up with something meaningful. Otherwise it’s just all awkward pauses and fake “oh, yeah”, “uh huh”, “wow, that’s crazy” type of comments!! If I only focus on the speaker then at the end of their talk time, I cannot think of anything on the spot to contribute to the conversation. In my experience, whenever I think ahead (again while they are talking), there’s a 50/50 chance I may come up with something meaningful or witty. Otherwise, I’m completely dumbfounded and you can tell the other person senses it too, resulting in that pitiful awkwardness where the other person feels sorry for you and your social ineptness. I know I’m not making this up lol because the situations that this has come up has left such a bad impression on these people that they tend to avoid striking up any conversations with me in the future. You know, the social outings with coworkers or neighborhood get togethers where everyone is gravitating towards or seeking out the “cool” charismatic people while avoiding the conversation dudders like myself! Marie & friends is there any help for someone like me?!!

    • Julia Romero

      I know exactly how you feel! I’m not an expert, but I think the answer lies in being in the moment and not in your head. If you’re totally present, the awkwardness self judgement goes away and you can respond in a truthful, genuine manner that comes from the heart, and that kind of response is always appreciated. <3

      • Julia Romero

        Try meditation or yoga 🙂

        • Jaime

          Thank you for your comment. I honestly wonder, is that how charismatic people do it? I am always so fascinated by those naturally born charismatic people that we are all drawn too. Wouldn’t it be great if the characteristics they exude could be learned? I think Marie should do a show on this to teach those of us that weren’t naturally born with it, the skills to be the “cool” people of the party or social gathering! 🙂

  70. You’re right, Marie – that listening is one of the most underrated, yet most powerful tools in the box. And it gets soooo much juicier & deeper, even! I use music & movement exercises – just things we do daily – to teach people how to deepen their listening skills. Listening fine tunes our intuitive skills to that “master” level you mentioned. Using your concept of the “IAP” allows the other person to ask you what you think, if they want to know. It not only honors them to be listened to, genuinely, but also intrigues them to learn what you’re thinking. Then, when you share it, it’s much more powerful because they’re ready to receive it! Real communication happens on the receiving end.

    And thanks for mentioning “fake listening” – it sucks. Listening is a high art & practice. Most people have NO idea how empowering it is.

    I love to talk, so it took me a while to hone my listening skills. But, SO worth the practice. If your videos only taught people two things to superpower their lives, this would be one of them. The other being forgiveness.

    You rock, Marie. Thanks for all the goodness you put out!

  71. Great vid! I totally resonate with this.

    I also had (have) the same problem of being too excited to give advice before they finish. I used to feel like I had to tell people everything I knew in order to help them get where they wanted to go.

    But over the years I’ve learned to be more selective and let them come to their own conclusions by listening more and talking less.

    I’ve noticed that when people feel they’ve found their own answers and insights they’re usually more grateful and 10X more likely to move forward than if I just told them how to do it.

  72. Love this! Definitely called me out! I am going to use this with my clients. Especially a new client I totally love, who is launching a Gorgeous women’s line. when we met I now see myself having having given her so much feedback, to do’s, etc. because I love her passion. But next time will Keep It Zipped Longer, quietly write notes to remind myself what to go over after she’s done explaining everything.

    Timely as usual Marie!

  73. I can start using the IAP this holiday with family visiting. Hoo hoooo! This oughta be a hot practice!!

  74. I can start using the IAP this holiday with family visiting! Hooo Hooo! this ought to be a sizzling practice!

  75. In this world of frenetic busy-ness and constant messaging, the silence allows for true communication.

    To me, “pausing” doesn’t automatically translate into “awkward” unless we declare that there is to be no space and silence in a conversation.

    The power of a pause and silence is like the white space on a page. It allows space for what is being expressed to be seen/heard.

    So many of my clients don’t heve anyone who can be present without waiting for “their turn” to speak, that much of the magic that happens for them comes out of true connection, as much or more tnan the that hunger is met, the magic happens.

  76. Marie, this was super well timed. My business partner and I have just found out we will be going into an intense negotiation next week. I think we will have to practice this before hand because we have A LOT to say. lol.

  77. Jen

    I can use this at home with my hubby. I always am thinking about what I can say next when I should be listening and paying more attention. This advice is great and will help me to be more present in conversations.
    Thanks! 🙂

  78. Julia Romero

    I interrupt people. :/ Not proud, but I’m working on it 🙂

  79. Anna


    OMG!!! Yes, I often think I am listening but my ADD brain is always on overload and I am as compulsive as it gets about not wasting time. Or I think I don’t, but I am doing two or three things at one time so I get more finished, or I think I get more finished. My kids always say to me, “MOM, are you listening or doing something”. Hit me over the head comments like that should get my attention.
    Thank you Marie for bringing this into my life today..Aha moments are always an attention getter.
    I am listening and pausing. I will consciously starting today to be a better listener as I make the awkward pause.

  80. Emrie

    This is a huge problem for me and it seems that the universe is conspiring to teach me this lesson! (Or I’m just finally ready to listen) Just this morning I clicked on a link that’s been floating around my fb for the last week called 20 Things the Rich Do Every Day and the one that really stuck out to me was “6% of the wealthy say what’s on their mind vs. 69% of the poor”. What this meant to me was this: The wealthy listen and learn And create intimacy in their relationships through listening. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made a friend almost cringe when I interrupted their thought with my own (apparently) more important thought! Oh, it hurts. Thank you for this reminder! Such good advice!

  81. Listening is something I have been working on getting better at for years now. I know I am a bit better than I used to be, but I still have issues with interrupting people. I feel terrible about it the end of a conversation. I will be using the Intentional Awkward Pause with my family. I know if I am consistent I’ll get better fast.
    Thanks so much for all you do!

  82. angela carpenter

    Oh my…. this is a good one for me. I am the worst offender with my children. I think the saying we are worst with our loved ones is true for me. I did this last night to my daughter and she walked away from me. Ick! I better use the pause today with all my children and see how that works. I really want this to be a new habit.
    Thank you Marie.

  83. You definitely came down my street on this one. I need to stop talking.

  84. On the flip side, I’m well known as a “great listener.” As a major introvert I would much rather let other people do the talking, and I’m often (too much) sympathetic to their plights.

    The downside to this is, of course, that I don’t want to butt in and give advice when it could probably do a lot of good, so I sometimes will even e-mail or message the person later on with my antic dotes when they probably wish I would have done so at the time of our conversation, when they were basically asking for it.

  85. Shannon

    I really think this is a great tip. I will earnestly attempt it because I know there is room for my listening skills to improve. A concern that I have is that, if I used this with two of the people that I am closest to, they would just keep talking and talking and talking … my silence would go unnoticed!

    • Trisha


  86. This is the best way to build great relationships with your children especially when they are teens. I must admit though that when my daughter tells me a story with a lot of ‘and then he said’ and “then she said’ I sometimes compile my grocery list. But by the end I’m back with her. 😀

  87. moni

    I am aware and acknowledge i do too much planning out what I’m going to say next. I don’t like it when other people do this to me.
    I don’t have to jump right in and have a response
    I have to stop myself from jumping to conclusions…especially with people I already know. Depending on how patient I am that day, I might wait for them to finish or interrupt. I need to work on just being present. From now on i need to be calm, breed, actively listen and plan what i would say, instead of interrupting the other person.
    thank you marie for a great video.

  88. This is so, so, SO important!! I’m a practiced listener as a coach, and a reminder to do this when networking or pitching is SO useful!
    Thanking you, Marie!
    Ps. You rock!
    Pps. I love you! 🙂

  89. I break so many listening rules!! My biggest are thinking about what I’ll say while the other person is talking and drifting off into my own world when someone is talking.

    I tend to do this a lot with my boyfriend since he really gets into technical descriptions. But, I’ve noticed other people don’t have a problem with it! Just me! So, I hate to admit it, it’s not his boring explanations, but my inability to listen to it! I’m definitely going to start implementing the IAP and also being aware of my presence!

  90. This might be one of the easiest tips to remember – yet hardest ones to practice that I’ve learned from you Marie! I’m going to give it a whirl and see how it makes a difference with both my family and my clients.

  91. “Apply advice directly to forehead”… HA!

    Another great video, Marie! Thanks! 🙂

  92. Steve Szubert

    For all the ladies …
    Whenever you use an IAP, your man looks at you and notices how absolutely gorgeous you are 🙂

  93. Love the IAP!

    Worst listening habit…I’m often guilty of having to add my 2 cents into anything and everything people say in my personal life. For work, I’m a pro with the IAP, but friendships/relationship, I suck. This will allow me to step back and truly let people talk, and free me up to listen.

    Thanks Marie!

  94. Pat

    I realize that I am a good listener with certain people and a terrible listener with others. It depends on several circumstances and I probably haven’t got it fully figured out yet. In one case, I am a good listener to my older son, and a poor listener to my younger son. I think my younger son needs more advice, so I don’t listen to him as well. I will be more aware and make a bigger effort to change now after hearing your talk today, Marie. Thanks.

  95. Robyn Lessley

    I make tons of listening mistakes from multi-tasking, to thinking about what I’m going to say. I just was reading about this in a book called “How to talk so kids will listen and listen so kids will talk”. If you don’t sit there and give them advice, most of the time they will solve their own problems and they really just appreciate you listening to them.
    Thanks Marie!

  96. I’m laughing SO HARD at the pap smear comment. OMFreakin’G.

    Another great piece of advice!!! My worst habit: fake listening, since I do a lot of work on the phone. I catch myself a lot, but at least I’m aware of it!

    I’ll be using this with my family and prospects & clients, thanks!!!


  97. My worst listening habit is connecting everyone’s experiences to something that I’ve been through. This comes across as always bringing the conversation back to me even though inside it feels like I’m trying to relate.
    My goal is to ask more questions and practice the 3 second pause, especially when I’m out with my boyfriend.

  98. One of my worst listening habits (used to be) forgetting people’s names…instantly. Like we’re talking nanoseconds after they said it. I’ve found one of the best ways to break this habit is to use their name asap in conversation — it sort of locks it into your brain!

    I’m going to try using the I.A.P. with my husband & give him the gift of being really heard this holiday 🙂

    Love your vids, Marie! You rock, girl!

  99. Hello All,
    Thanks for this one and great comments. My significant other and I both work from separate home offices. When we end up both in the kitchen making something for lunch we politely ask how the other’s day is going, but I often think we are both engaging in fake listening! Not intentionally, but we are wrapped up in our own work days. If I’m going to take time out for some lunch and to ask him about his day, I should listen and be interested in his answer… I’ll work on that this week! I am also guilty of the fake phone listening, this is a TERRIBLE trait for a sales person! So, I’ll be more aware of that one too.

  100. Marie,

    Thank you so much for your always right-on-time advise!

    Yes, this is the time we get together more with family, relatives, and friends. And it’s time to face our ugly habits. I’m guilty of all the ones mentioned above and probably even more. I will start by TRULY LISTENING while practicing IAP, starting with my family and friends.

    Reading all the comments above was also very helpful. Thanks everybody for sharing!

  101. Beautiful personal share Marie. Beautiful and so nice to hear.
    Oh, wow you went there with that pap smear line! Haha! Awesome.
    Only you could pull those two off in the same short little vlog!

  102. Trisha

    Great video. Great idea. Have been using it for sometime now. It’s wonderful. Here’s my Q: what about people who love soliloquys? You know… You give them the space and you Never get a word in At All…. And they are Complainers… Sometimes perhaps listening needs a break, otherwise you are encouraging complaining.

    • Heidi

      Just this week I feel like my words are forever betraying me. The intention is never perceived correctly. Instead I am seen as bitchy or self absorbed. So I am going to take you up on this tip and I will force myself to stop and listen. And I hope to hell that this will change the way I feel and the way I am perceived because neither one are nice. Thanks.

      • Tricia

        Not sure why you put this comment here… I’m just wondering what to do with the Over-Shareres who dump their too personal problems on me when I don’t really even know them…it’s actually sucking the life out of me to listen to those kinds of people…

  103. Oh, Marie. This is exactly what my business coach and I had a talk about this morning as I take some leaps in my business.

    My bad habit: Interrupting. Period, that’s what I can say. For instance, I was listening to a recording with my coach a few weeks back. I had all this exciting motion, but really I think I’d just had too much coffee that morning. When I listened to the playback, I thought, “Holy shit, I am interrupting more often then listening.” Since that day, I don’t drink coffee as much for one; and two, I slow myself the F down because I am actually a great listener. It’s funny, because I don’t interrupt with my clients but I interrupt those lovin’ on me and supporting my growth. Go figure.

    So, the I.A.P is genius for me right now and will be highly effective in sales conversations and pitching to some big opportunities that could make some massive change. Big or small, I am going to use it in my sales conversations

  104. Hollywood does this ALL THE TIME! When I would travel there they would let you do all the talking so they could get an idea as to whether or not you had a clear vision. Very cool! Thanks for the reminder!

    • Trisha

      Great comment. Thanks for reminding me of that.

  105. Trisha

    Here’s an interesting story: My BFF & I worked together at one point in our careers. We noticed at lunch w our co-workers that WE were the only ones talking over lunch and THEY listened…did not contribute anything. So I said the my friend : Tomorrow we do NOT hog the conversation, in fact we Say Nothing. Guess what? Absolutely No Conversation What So Ever during the Entire Lunch From Anyone!!!!!! Absolutely amazing. So we did this for 2 (yup TWO) weeks, hoping someone else would have a conversation WE could listen to!! Nothing!!!!! Amazing. So apparently we were Not Hogging the conversation at all. Others at lunch just had Nothing to say.

  106. One of my favorite topics! Thanks, Marie and team! Ya’ll keep doing what your doing! 🙂

  107. Brent

    Awesome Marie…caught myself thinking about this this morning…my brother called and I was right in the middle of an email…I kept on typing while half listening. I felt bad when we hung up because I wasn’t engaged. Now I’ve had 2 reminders in one day. Thanks and happy holidays!

  108. Ali

    This is such amazing advice…

    My worst listening habit is definitely getting distracted checking things on my computer while on the phone with someone. Guilty! If someone is talking for awhile and I am not fully engaging myself in the conversation, I tend to gravitate to checking things online, answering e-mail, etc. This is inspiring me to get back into presence mode, rather than floating away from the convo!

    I think the most impactful place I can start using the intentional awkward pause, would be in conversations with my loved ones. I tend to want to jump in to offer advice, or why I understand where they are coming from, or to share my experience in that same area of life. Instead, I am going to truly silencing myself so they can fully get out what they have to say in their processing. This will be such a great practice for me because honestly, one of my biggest pet-peeves is when I get interrupted while talking, especially when I am sharing an exciting story, experience, opportunity, victory, etc.! It really irks me and makes my skin crawl. Hopefully in my offering this to others, it attracts the same treatment back to me too 🙂

    Thank you, as always, Marie!

    xox Ali

  109. Yikes – PERFECT timing!!

    I was just lucky enough to work with (exceptional life coach) Chela Davison, and one of the things that came up was my TERROR of the IAP. My sweetheart is an introvert who thinks to talk, and we frequently scrap over my habit of interrupting him when he’s taking ages to answer a question. After working with Chela, I’ve started trying to get curious about my discomfort and sit with it. Now being told that there is power in my sitting with it – au! I’m so happy! Thank you!

    Also, are those panels on your beautiful dress made of PLEATHER? *swoon*

    Thanks for some perfect pre-Christmas timing – gonna be IAP’ing it up so much, no one’ll know what hit them.

    (it’s me: just with more powerful listening skills)

  110. Wonderful advice!! Thank you.

    As they say, we have two ears and one mouth so one can listen twice as much as one speaks.

    I have learned to compassionately listen with my heart, removing judgment, being more present.

    Certainly enjoy listening to you and Team Forleo!

    With gratitude,
    Katrina Wynne

  111. What a great way to dig deep Marie.

    I don’t tend to interrupt people with my voice/comments but is it possible I interrupt them with my thoughts? Like I make up my mind about what they are saying before they have finished saying it.

    Bad right?

    …Or is that intuition?

  112. Alycia Wells

    Oh Boy, this is my husband’s #1 complaint about me otherwise im fabulous… just kidding. Working on quieting my minds chatter and really listen, that’s it just LISTENING.

  113. Sebastian

    Hello Marie!
    Thank You for sharing and recall me this important habit, I am totally agree with You and Silence is one of the most relevant part of a conversation and wisdom.

    In a conversation I feel tempted to interrupt others just to let them know my perspective or provide input, I’m trying to stay focused and learn how to keep quiet and listen actively….., not easy, but improving!

    I think the best place to start with IAP will be in my office and with family and friends.

    Thank you for this pre-Xmas gift!


  114. So fun! Love this. It’s funny because I have a few times unintentionally done this, but didn’t really connect how powerful and effective it was! I am definitely guilty of doing other things while talking on the phone but have been improving that greatly! I think a big one I have still is thinking about what I’m going to say next and missing parts of the conversation and then just pretending like I’m back on track. Terrible! I think the time I do that most is when I want to impress someone be it in a work situation or with someone important to my friends or boyfriend that I’m meeting for the first time. So that is when I will practice IAP

  115. Steve

    I’m using this today with my kids and in the workplace

  116. Marie, I have an ex-brother in law who I felt was a natural born salesperson. After having spent 20 years in sales I now know he was using the technique you talk about. I always felt as though he heard what I was saying AND was interested. Wow, what a compliment!

    Those who don’t get this are NAL. Not a listener. A friend and his wife came up with this term. If she walked into a conversation with her husband and another person, he would say to her “NAL”. Funny thing, he is the definition of NAL. HA!

  117. I love this everyone needs to watch this video and practice the IAP! Sometimes you have to sit shut up and listen. Love it

  118. Wow Marie! I can hardly believe that you needed to remind people to be polite. And what’s more, give it an acronym ‘IAP’ and call it a technique. Interrupting people when they’re speaking is rude, arrogant and a sure-fire way to appear mightier-than-thou.

    In Australia children are taught not to interrupt parents when they are speaking and for most people, those early lessons stay with them through to adulthood.

    I’m glad you are passing on what you have now learned, ie good manners. You go girl!

    • Sally, I think it’s more complicated than manners.

      When I’m engaged in conversation with people on an intimate level, I care about them very deeply. My interrupting in those conversations isn’t about rudeness. I have genuine desire to connect and contribute.

      What I think Marie is pointing out is that we often thinking that talking builds connection and contribution. We forget that silence can, too!

      Furthermore, I think many of us are afraid that silence is bad manners, like it signals that we don’t know, don’t care, or weren’t listening.

      I took this piece not as a comment about manners, but a comment on how silence can be a powerful communication tool.

      • Hey Leslie,

        I think you missed my point entirely when you commented “…I care about them very deeply. My interrupting in those conversations isn’t about rudeness. I have genuine desire to connect and contribute…” I cannot understand why it would ever be more important to contribute than to comprehend, absorb and understand what another is trying to share with you.

        As for me, when people won’t shut-up, jump in with an opinion, or cut me off, I just stop talking altogether. I practice extreme IAP.

        Maybe in my line of work, I just need to listen carefully and pay attention, otherwise I miss important information. It works wonders in my social life as well.

        There’s an old saying: We have two ears and one mouth, so we can hear twice as much as we say!

  119. My coach at the gym does this to me! Drives me nuts!!!

  120. So so so so valuable! I really am going to start implementing this in EVERY relationship I have. THANK YOU!

  121. I believe I listen, but then I frequently relate what they have told me to a story that happened to me and I tell them that. I don’t mean to turn it around to me, I just mean to show that I understand. I think I probably need to keep the focus on them or, gosh, but be silent! Thanks Marie.

    • Oh man, I do this all the time. I also do it because I think it’s polite, like, I hear your words and understand them. It’s definitely something I need to work on.

  122. Loved this one! My ADHD makes it difficult for me to actively listen to folks so I have to work tirelessly to get it right. I have to work hard not to hold on to replies in my head while others talk…I’m just so friggin forgetful. Acknowledgement is the first step in the process 😉 thanks for recharging my Tuesday!

  123. Rachel

    I was going to say my worst habit is interrupting (which I do all the time), but I also do the same thing Jane does, relate back to be. I think working on my listening skills at home is probably the best place to start.

  124. It’s funny, I actually use this a lot at work. I’m a team leader for a contact centre, so when people say they want to speak to a manager, they speak to this gal.
    When people come on the phone with a complaint…let’s just say they have a lot to say, and a big part for me is getting them to calm down enough to listen to my resolution to their problem.
    So I sit in silence and listen. And when they get to the end I do a IAP (though I didn’t know until today it had a name!).
    A lot of the time people will realise they have nothing further to say, and I am being silent, “Are you still there?” they ask.
    “Yes,” I reply, “I’m just listening”
    Honest to goodness it works every time. They are surprised that I am being polite and listening to them and it kind of…well I have no polite way to say this so…it cuts their ranting off at the knees, allowing me the chance to start discussing a resolution.

    • Right on, Meghann! I’ve had the same experience.

      It’s also important that you are truly listening.

      From this place, you can perform miracles and heal hurts.

      I also work for a calling center, and people call with such anger about things they KNOW are beyond my control. But that anger is a call for love, and I can give it. When I do, the results are amazing. I’ve had people about to get off the phone and say, “You seriously just made me feel so much better. I feel hopeful now, even though I called so angry.” Often, all I did was just allow space for an IAP (I didn’t have a name for it until today, either).

      These casual daily interactions with strangers are an opportunity to impact great change if we let them.

  125. Marie,

    Fear is such a powerful, motivating force inhibiting the ability to stay quiet. Allowing others the space of their ideas – which often don’t match your own – can be intimidating! We want control! We wrongly equate control with peace. I am a 15 yr. veteran of step mothering. Believe me – there can be a lot of disagreement – particularly as to how certain people (READ STEPKIDS HERE!!!) live their lives. The ability to suspend judgment – trusting that the other person has the ability to make it at the end of the day – has got to be one of the toughest tasks I face nearly daily! Awkward silence allows an individual the time to process ideas and to grow. Seeds only grow in carefully tended soil. Awkward silence is important fertilizer! Thanks, Marie!

  126. I LOVED this video!
    My worst listening habit is preparing in my head what I want to say. Or even worse – judging what they are saying! ewwww.
    I’m going to practice this on Christmas Day with a few of my in-laws that I don’t necessarily click with. I’m excited to see how it transforms that relationship- when I actually listen to the person!

  127. I must say, I’m great at this! But it is my job to listen to people so I’ve had a lot of practice, haha. I have high expectations that others will listen to me though, which doesn’t always happen!

  128. Leigh

    Thank you! I so needed this reminder. And I asked my hubby if he could watch this as well so that we could experiment to see how it works for us. Fingers crossed!

  129. Natasha

    Hey Marie,
    Love your videos. I am too good at listening and find it a little harder being the talker. A video on being persuasive with words would be awesome:)

  130. I’m going to use IAP in conversations with my friends and family to keep myself from experiencing “life coach reflux.” It’s kinda like acid reflux, in that it is an unintended negative consequence of indulging in something amazing.

    When I’m engaged in life coaching with a client, I feel in every atom a vibrating consistency of purpose, reaffirming that I am doing exactly what I am meant to do.

    At the same time, I have had painful repercussions in my personal relationships, that life coach reflux thing. I can take responsibility for part of the problem: in my enthusiasm over the cool things I’ve learned, I have crossed lines, coaching when NOT appropriate. Other times, people have taken offensive at my casually shared thoughts, saying, “Don’t you life coach me!” Finally some people have pumped me for life coaching in a way that I felt icky, to say the least.

    So I’ve identified the sickness. You, Marie, provided a cure. From now on, when I feel a bit of life coach reflux coming on, I’m going to work to take an IAP.

  131. Love your site and your videos. I watch them often and have been doing so for a couple of years. You always deliver great advice and food for thought.

    I’ll say though I feel a little weird watching and even more so commenting. I feel at times like I’m stepping into an all girls club and shouldn’t be here.

    Maybe sometime down the road we can team up and form the Hunky, Handsome and Hot C School?

  132. Thank you Marie. Looking forward to using the IAP with my new partner as we get to know each other.

  133. Such an awesome video!

    Suspense, punch line and everything 🙂

    Thanks, Marie!

  134. Hi Marie,
    Long-time lurker, 1st time commenter here. I was spurred out of my lurkdom by this topic. Having long ago been a psychotherapist, I have no problem at all with the IAP. In fact, I didn’t find it awkward back then. All my colleagues felt the same way too. I totally agree that it is very valuable and recognize that it is one reason people are drawn to me. However, I did need to learn the value of small talk which I’m not naturally good at. There are times when small talk is the best option. For instance, at my husband’s holiday party, I really don’t want to end up talking with his colleagues, who are attorneys, about their dysfunctional childhoods and neither do they. I think sometimes, the IAP can take people by surprise. When they finally have someone who is listening so intently, they can forget that they are at a social gathering and end up sharing too much. So in those instances, although I still try to be a good listener, I also try to keep the topics fairly superficial.

  135. A Life Coach

    This is good advice unless you are a psychologist, counselor or life coach who helps people process issues for a living because the more you listen, the more they talk and the more time you lose that you could be using to help your paying clients. It’s also not respectful of your paying clients to help others process deep emotional issues for free. So if you are already in some sort of giving field, job or career, I think you need to practice this in your personal life with a little bit of care. Otherwise, you will end up being everyone’s free ear to turn in your free time and will not be making a living doing what you do best.

  136. Ellie

    At a recent family get-together, I was surrounded by distant relatives I rarely get to see. (I’m from a big Irish family)

    When a cousin insulted my brother (who was not present at this event), instead of reacting in a negative way or snapping, I used the IAP.

    3 simple seconds of silence.

    The result was incredible: the cousin realised in those 3 seconds how rude he had been, pardoned his comment and changed the topic of conversation. I felt like the situation could have quickly spiralled into tension.

  137. Ha ha, “awkwaaaaaaaaard.” Love it! I had a feeling this was going to be about listening. Thanks for the reminder.

  138. Len

    Love the IAP. Any good sales person uses it.
    Being a guy, my teen daughters say I only half-listen to them. Most of the time I can’t get a word in anyway.:) I think it’s a problem most men have when they’re talking to the opposite sex…half-listening.

  139. Mary

    I flipped every one of these three questions around. Am I listening to you? Did I hear what you really had to say? Do you even matter to me? Knowing that the answer might be “No” is just as powerful as “Yes”. Self deception is as erroding as acid.

  140. I heart this episode.

    I am definitely guilty of thinking of what to say and formulating my response while my conversation partner is still talking.

    I plan on implementing the IAP at my remaining holiday parties this week!

    Thanks Marie and the MarieTV team!

  141. My worst habit is… always, always, always giving the person a word to describe what they’re trying to say.

    It bugs me and I’m the one that does it!

    My other bad listening habit is thinking about my response and not listening to what they are saying.

    2. The most impactful place I can use this new habit, is on coffee dates with my friends. I’m always jumping to give advice, I need to refrain myself from jumping on them and trying to solve their problems. Sometimes an ear is all they need and they’ll have their own insights.

    Jana xx

  142. Leanne Richards-Williams


    Repetition deepens impression: I have been recently been taught by Hannah Kallio how to listen like Jesus and it involved learning to just be quiet, because if you want to help people, you cant let a conversation center around your ideas.

    I will use this silent approach (no assassination here) in my personal develop training/growth experiences. These experiences takes all forms so I will need to reap the benefits from my life by alertly listen for a life lesson to receive and eventually give.

  143. Wow I am awesome at doing this with my clients!

    Buuuut I totally suck at it with my daughter. She is 6 and so impressionable and the most important person in my life. So thank you for the reminder and it’s time for me to step up and start using this technique with her. And do it consistently.

  144. Melissa

    I do all of the above and then some. Listening is something I would really like to work on in 2014! Thanks for a quick practice that will help me show progress right away.

  145. Breana

    I’m always finishing people’s sentences and it really bothers me every time I do it!
    Although, I must say that my listening skills have improved a tremendous amount after Live in the Moment Booty Camp… it’s changed my life!
    You’re awesome, Marie! I’m going to practice the Intentional Awkward Pause with my family

  146. Salutary reminder for me and my fellow extraverts, who are bursting at the seams to share, and interrupt with the very best of intentions! We can learn from our more introverted friends and colleagues, whose listening skills can be superb.

  147. Love it! Priceless.
    Not only SO true (great vid!), but also hilarious listening to the voice-over guy whispering “awkward” (cracking me up!) Totally reminds me when I need to shut my talkaholic mouth and listen! Thanks Marie x

  148. Thanks again Marie!

    Lovely advice. I am a really loud person but from now on consciously I will use IAP

  149. My worst habit is listening and then sharing similar a story that happened to me. It’s not one-upping though, it’s to show that I understand. I still try not to do it all the time, I try to ask a question or, now I will try some IAP!
    Thanks x

  150. The simplicity of this is brilliant. Thank you!

  151. What a great reminder!
    For me it is very hard not to interrupt and give a reply before the question is asked.

    I know I can listen very good and in a helpful way if I want to. But I guess one of my biggest problems is, that in a bigger group if I start to speak no one listens to me. So my strategy is to “steal” the attention by interrupting.
    How can I solve this problem that I am not heard?

  152. Hi Marie,

    My worst habit is reading emails when I’m supposed to be listening. Now I avoid even looking at my email when listening to someone because it’s too tempting.

    I had an initial session with a client last week that really showed me how important it is to people to be heard. I was just looking to set up and appointment and find out basically what he needed, but I ended up listening to him for almost an hour–really listening.

    I asked questions every now and then for clarification, but did very little speaking myself, and the next day he wrote me to tell me that it was the greatest consult he’s ever had, and I didn’t even DO anything! He wants to be a lifetime client because he felt so heard.

    So instead of the endless emailing back and forth to find out what someone needs, now I pick up the phone and “talk” to them, but I do very little talking and they become my client 🙂

  153. Marly


    I follow you, love you and as I will start a business next year, I will take your course.
    I am so proud of you being a brunette. Smart, strong, beautiful.
    Are you trying to become a blod – little by little….
    NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, please!!!

  154. Stephanie

    I love that you coined this “The Awkward Stare” because I never could quite put my finger on what was happening when two of the best communicators I’ve known have tried this validating and incredibly sexy move on me. It definitely confirms you’re listening AND gives permission to go on. It says “you’re not boring me and I have time for what you have to say”

    Something I wanted to share is an idea to take it one step further: a boss I’ve had was a very good listener and definitely did this, but in a crowded conference room or hallway, if you were talking and had his undivided attention, when someone interrupted, even quickly & politely, (and sometimes that was me) he kept his strong gaze firmly attached to the eyes of his communication partner until they were done talking. It was amazing. Without a word, he said “they’re interrupting and you still have all my attention. Go on.” Try it sometime! It’s almost the normal flow of a group dynamic to overlap and interrupt, but so much more can be accomplished when each person is allowed to finish their thought.

  155. Agreed. Active listening is key. I just went to a workshop with my hubby and they taught is how to actively listen in three parts. You ask for an apt to talk, you listen and summarize each thing the other says, and then you say… IS THERE MORE? Not in a sarcastic way, that I’m used to 🙂 but in a nice way and then you listen, summarize and then empathize- key.

    It’s changed our icky habits around communication and I think it could work really well outside a romantic relationship.

    Your hair is shiny and amazing.
    Your dress rocks.

    big fan, Desha Peacock

  156. Maggie B

    I particularly liked that you used the word awkward, because for me, sitting in the silence is the hardest part of any conversation. I think my instinct is to want to show empathy by either offering advice, or sharing my own experience to make the other person feel validated. The latter, however, is likely to have the opposite effect. Great tip. I need to learn to be comfortable with the awkward.

  157. Tony Guadagnino

    Great video. I used to interrupt people until a good friend pointed it out to me. I didn’t realize how much I used to do that. I don’t do that anymore. And if I do, I immediately apologize and let them continue.
    But I do need to work on listening and retaining. There are people who will talk for 15 minutes non-stop and I don’t interrupt. We’ll talk sometime later and they’ll say “I told you this,” and I don’t remember it. Maybe there are tricks on retaining.

  158. I love this. I am terrible about interrupting. (my whole family is) I definitely need to use this with my family.

  159. Melanie

    I definitely try and be a good listener, but my big issue is that I am thinking about what to say next. And then I want to blurt it out before I forget what I am going to say. It is definitely challenging, but my husband has become very good at saying, “Now wait, let me finish.” This is my cue that I need to stop and just listen.

    Being involved with a couple of women business groups in my area, I will really be implementing this in my conversations with them. Maybe then I will remember their names and what it is they do for a living, instead of worrying about how well I sounded or what I said.

  160. wow..that was a great eye opner….i enjoy watching your video as they are short and crisp with powerful message.

  161. Rochelle

    This is wonderful advice. I realize that I would actually *remember* what people tell me if I would really listen to them. I know, duh. But I’m always saying that I don’t have a greatest memory/am a little flaky and now the connection seems obvious. I’m a talker and I need to slow down. Great tip for me — now let’s see if I can actually do it. Thank you!

  162. Powerful listening is so tricky because the very act of thinking about how well you’re listening means your attention is on you, when really being present and deeply listening means your full attention and focus is entirely on the other person.

  163. Lex

    1. Always working to curb interrupting!

    2. Everywhere — the boundaries between work, friends, and family are mixed and blurry for me.

    This is a wonderful check in, thank you!

  164. This was spot on. Great video, Marie. When I decided to become a Life Coach, this was one technique that helped me in ALL areas of my life. Thanks for sharing.

  165. Amen sister! My man and I just went to couples therapy and truly listening to one another was MAJOR! It completely shifted us.

  166. Thank you so much for this!
    I am at a crossroads in a potential new business partnership with a good friend (who is also a longtime colleague). In the past I was her supervisor, now we need to work as equals. I am very enthusiastic about the opportunities ahead and fear that I am getting caught up in that high while she may be expressing some trepidation. I’m going to practice this one right away before I miss something very important.

  167. Okay, first of all, I must say that I’m in LOVE with that dress! Gorgeous. If you or Elsa see this, I need to know where it came from!! (Please?)

    As a coach, the IAP is one of my absolute favorite tools…and I’m pretty great at using it with clients.

    BUT…in my personal life? Not so much. I’m a habitual interrupter, for sure, and an occasional fake listener. I’m going to make an effort to start using the IAP with friends and family more often. Thanks for the reminder of how powerful it can be, Marie!

  168. Great advice, and I loved that story. It makes it very easy to relate to. I know listening is important, but I never thought of the IAP. I will start working on that. Thanks Marie.

  169. I love this episode! I recently started using this technique when I’m coaching. I find when I am talking to someone and I’m really inspired it can be hard to turn off the faucet. lol But when I just say enough, and then sit quietly and let the other person soak in and ponder, they come up with so much on their own and that is really empowering for people. :o)

  170. Gabi

    1. I am very often a fake listener. Usually I tend to listen to my inner voices and discussions instead of people`s stories. This happens especially if I have a really bad day (= loooud voices) or if the story is not interesting or “meaningful” enough to me. This habit is already getting better but I am still working on it.
    2. the IAP I can use best with my family and strangers probably. I tend to like correcting my family for their “false” thoughts. And I tend to hessitate with my answers to strangers because I don`t want them to think I am boring and have no funny answer. But actually hesitation only leads to reeally strange answers which don`t come from my heart but more from a small-talk-textbook.

  171. So simple… a three second pause. A “how-to” for taking the time to listen. I thought this was a great episode because it acknowledged that pauses are awkward and uncomfortable. It just makes sense that you would take the time to really listen and understand before responding. It’s amazing how people respond when they know they have been heard, the evidence in your story. The biggest challenge for me is being around a big talker – I have a hard time keeping focus and listening. But I will work on this – thanks Marie!

  172. I have taught this to thousands of guys out there in my DKYD talks around the globe. If they can just turn off their “Mr. Fix It” modes and really truly listen to their ladies, their relationships will be much better. My lovely and I have a “Talking Couch” time every day where we just sit and listen to each other in turn about our day. It’s very rewarding and awesome… And stuff.

    AMEN! (Wait, was that sexist?)… AWOMEN!

  173. jenaya

    I am the WORLD”S WORST interrupter! But seriously. I need to stop it and start paying attention to the people around me, esp. my friends and family.
    First step for me is to be conscious of the conversations I have and truly value what others have to say!

  174. Stephanie Tanner

    Yes!!! In nursing, this is called “therapeutic silence” and it works wonders with patients in allowing them space to reveal their goals, concerns, health history, etc. Since learning it, I’ve used it so much with potential clients, customers, and colleagues and I can tell the difference that it makes in my connections with other people.

    That said, I’m working on “fake listening” lately. Sigh. I notice it every time I do it, and I’m committed to being more aware and conscious of when people are trying to connect with me… So important!!

  175. Hi Marie,
    I know i could definitely use this technique. I love talking way too much and when people tell me stories i try and find a way to relate to it through personal experience rather than just listening.

    Thanks x

  176. Reminds me so much of what I daily do, search engine optimization training and coaching. My students and clients often focus on what THEY want to say and share. Not on what the online searcher wants to HEAR.

    Thank you for sharing, Marie!

  177. Lia

    I just love your smile Marie! 🙂 This video is priceless even though I consider myself a great listener. Thank you!

  178. I so enjoy your videos. I’ve learned that there is a difference between listening and hearing. You can’t do both at the same time!

  179. Hey,

    Thank you for todays insight!:) Really enjoyed it and I totally agree, just by listening you can get so much more out of it. For me I realized when I stopped trying to be right and always need to proof my point my need to always say something also kind of comes to peace. Cause sometimes people don’t need to hear what I say, they just want me to listen. So yes everyday I try and somedays are better then others:)) So thank you for todays insight and thank you for helping me work more on what I need to get better at!:)
    Have a great day!

  180. Donna

    Interrupting must be the most stubborn habits I struggle with!
    I can practice this with my family and at work.

    I used to think I had to interject so I wouldn’t forget my feedback. Then I realized I was looking at it from the ‘me’ angle. In truth, the person I not going to know if the person even requires my feedback unless I truly listen to the end. They may just need to be heard, and figure it out without my input…imagine that. Or, my feedback may be completely different if I listen to the whole story. Like Marie said, if I meet their pause with a pause they may continue on with important insight. If I interrupt, they may loose their train…ahhg! Or, they may just shut down because they do not feel I value them. I wish I could wave a magic wand to get this right. I’ll keep trying…sometimes wearing a rubber band helps me to remember I am practicing a new habit.

  181. Yana

    Great tip! I think the only reason why it is awkward is that we rarely ever do this because we all tend to talk a lot, give opinion and share. So nobody’s used to it.

  182. Milou

    I’m actually a journalist for a living, so I’m used to scan what someone is saying for useful information, and use the other part of the time to think of other things to ask. Effective, but not always good, especially around family members. However, I master the IAP perfectly, you immediately notice that if you leave a silence, people will want to fill it up and share more.

  183. James Green

    This was an amazing video and it showed me that I do have bad listening habits that need to be solved. I will definitely start using the IAP from this day forward. Thank you Marie Forleo for making this video.

  184. One of the best compliments I get is that I am a good listener. Certainly not perfect. Who is?
    As a time management executive coach I get to practice awkward silence all the time. I do however have to catch myself by not letting my mind wonder when I am listening. Really listening at level three.
    Not always easy especially at parties!

  185. KG

    Thanks Marie!

  186. Lucienne

    Carrie – you really said it “Listen to understand and not to respond”.
    Important to I A P and as always, thanks Marie for highlighting. I am really lucky to be a natural listener however I do have to be really aware of not imparting thoughts and knowledge until the person truly has finished what they wish to express …..

  187. I know I need improvements!! I am constantly cutting people off when they speak. When it’s with people I’ve just met it’s nervousness. When I’m with friends it’s because I’m not thinking. Sometimes I do catch myself too and then it throws my friends off because they’re waiting to be interrupted and then we laugh. But I do want to stop doing this because because it sends out the message that I don’t care about what you’re saying.

  188. Novel-Dean

    OH My GOLLYWOG!!! I am such a one-upper !!!!!!!! (you should see my eyes bulging as I type this)

    In my head it sounds like I’m showing that I can relate to what the other person is saying.. but the deflated look on their face says I stole their spotlight. Marie, I am literally going to have to bit my tongue. (sighs)

    I’m teacher… the age group I teach have lots of opinions… problem is.. so do I…. I really should allow them to express their opinions more.

  189. Awesome!
    This reminds me of the 37th verse of the Tao Te Ching by Lao-tzu that I just read the other night:
    “By not wanting, there is calm, and the world will straighten itself. When there is silence, one finds the anchor of the universe within oneself”
    I have been putting this to practice and it is quite amazing what you find out and what gets resolved when you just shut the hell up!
    Thanks Marie!


  190. Omg. Love this! I need to use this more with my clients. My worst listening habit – thinking of a solution while my client is still talking. I also do this in my personal life when a loved one comes to me with a problem. I have to remind myself that sometimes people just want to be heard and aren’t looking for an immediate solution.

  191. Alicia

    Thank you so much for these advice, which is so useful. I am a bad listener, more like a passive listener who is very stubborn in the inside. This will help me a lot at work.

  192. My children are young and I definitely fake listen to them sometimes. OK probably most days at some point. It is also the best place for me to practice being consistently present. Thank you for your inspiration and a very Happy Holidays to you and the whole team!!!

  193. I recall a few years ago when I was a support worker for people living with leukaemia, a patient asked me about a quote on his hospital wall. I forget who it was by but it basically said that silence is the most effective means of communication. Because I was a coach too, I explained to him what it meant (basically what you just talked about in your vid). He smiled and told me he would cherish that.
    I have a bad habit (when I am not with clients) of interrupting. I have been working on my IAP for some time and the people in my life are noticing so that’s nice. Great vid Marie

  194. Love this, Marie, thanks, as always! I’ve used this technique ever since I read years ago that Robert DeNiro uses it, too, in his acting! But one thing I find frustrating is when networking, it’s the same people who ask me a question, then interrupt me to give me advice. These are the same people who complain about money, but also have the networking reach of a cheesy yet well-connected politician. How can you make the most of these kind of connections?

  195. Liz

    Brilliant! I’ve been working on this one for years…key word…YEARS!
    Sooooo, now I just set an IAP alarm on my phone twice a day so I am reminded to “shut my yap”. THANK YOU!! THANK YOU!!!

  196. Irene

    Wait a minute! Was I even really listening to you, Maria, while I watched your video and multi-tasked sewing a scarf together? Right there is my key problem! Multi-tasking while I’m listening to my husband who loves to go on and on about an idea!!! What I need to do is put that project down and give my darling some eye contact and my ears! Thanks. You really helped.

  197. Always listening, make my love more beautyful.

  198. Marj

    I am one of those people that does not feel heard, and I seem to always perpetually be listening to others, they ride me like a horse. Speaking up and making ourselves known is important too. Being yourself, and being authentic is what I want to focus on. I love hearing peoples stories and view points. What is it with women that we are professionals at making ourselves smaller all the time, I guess it is part of our magic.

  199. Ruthie

    How can I keep my brain from churning up thoughts and answers even if my lips are sealed and I am gazing at the speaker?

  200. The IAP (Intentional Awkward Pause) is a great tool to figure out what is going on with every people you meet, not only your kids. It is also a great negotiating tool, pausing can give a chance for the counterpart to raise the offer of what ever you are selling. Nice article Marie, thank you for sharing!

  201. Hi Marie,

    Maybe I’m wrong but, in my experience, if you are thinking up what you are going to say next instead of listening to the other person, you care more about yourself than what the other person is saying. All the IAPs n the world are going to make you care any more about what they are saying.

  202. Hi Marie!

    Awww! I am guilty of checking my Email while someone is with me on the phone. I like the awkward look and this is a good New Year’s resolution!

    Ann 😉

  203. Melissa Y

    Sometimes I’d start by listening, but halfway through I something would pop up and occupy my mind. That’s when I zone out of the conversation.

  204. Britt

    I used to naturally be a good listener. The I realized that my being quiet was attracting people who like to go on and on and on (and on and on). They never seemed to talk about anything important/thoughtful/personal, just running their mouths, trying to avoid all silence. I, personally, am not bothered by silence. So, I thought my lesson was to learn to interject from time to time and not allow myself be held hostage by someone else’s gossip or complaining, etc. Even still, I seem to attract people who like to run on and on and gossip and talk AT me instead of with me. And I still feel terrible when I interject in an attempt at a “converation”.

    This is the exact opposite of what Marie is teaching. LOL.

  205. Good stuff for sure.
    The epiphany I got watching your video was that, as you offer pure presence and silence, wisdom/insight comes. There are people in my life that when I get together with them, I feel I know myself better–and I connected the dots: it’s because they hold that space for me. As I speak, they truly listen and in so doing, enlightenment occurs.
    Thanks, Marie. You’re awesome.

  206. hi nice post i like it

  207. I’ve definitely noticed that when meeting new people, you should not talk about yourself. Even if you have good intentions, you come off self-centered and arrogant. Ask other people to talk about themselves and eventually they will ask about you 🙂

  208. I have learnt to listen and use the awkward pause, specially in my coaching business. It brings so much juicy information out that clients are really eager to talk about. I am however a bit of an offender when it comes to my family. It can be hard for me to listen, or even not jump in with my great ideas.
    But I am trying every time to be a better listener, specially to be very present in every single conversation. Great video! I loved the effects for the awkward moments! Thank you for sharing and Merry Christmas!

  209. Murtaza

    Excellent content! Lots of learning. Love the energy!

  210. Hello Marie Forleo!

    It’s the first time I am leaving a comment here – I just wanna say a big THANK YOU to all good energy and lessons you give to us.
    I’m Marina from Brazil, envolved with social business and it’s fun how I constatly listening the same tips to improve myself and make changes.
    Love this keep learners , and I wish you an awesome 2014!

    Hugs from São Paulo!

  211. Mary

    I’m more like Britt and have the opposite problem! I’m a good listener and attract people who love to talk about themselves. I just recently became aware of this. The huge advantage of that is that I’m really good at reading people and getting them to reveal all kinds of things about themselves, the disadvantage is that people know very little about me, incl my business. Let’s put it that way: I’m the best marketer and motivator – for other people! But for myself and my own business – I suck! So now I’m learning to put myself more into the conversation and create balance.

  212. Worst listening skill: Trying to come up with a reply while they’re still talking. I think practicing this at home with my family is a great place to start. 🙂

  213. I ALWAYS say BE PRESENT in anything + everything you do! If you are not present you should just stop what you are doing and stop wasting the other persons time. I notice with my personal training clients when I tell them to present and active in our workout it sparks a different energy level, the phone gets put down and the world around them shuts down for our 45 minute session, those clients always succeed with me and work 10 times harder because they are ACTIVE and listening! Thank you for the tips Marie YOU ROCK <3 C

  214. Great video! That is so true. I think that listening ability is a gift. Observing and listening to people can help you to understand them and formulate more revelant info.

  215. I’m so opinionated that’s hard for me to not spill out what I’m thinking right away. That awkward pause goes on my must implement habits lists NOW.

  216. Call me the interrupter. Not a proud title to hold.
    I notice it most in my recordings of my coaching calls. I am actively practicing the pause. So simple yet quite essential.

    Thanks for sharing Marie!

  217. Maye

    Thank you for the New Year advice!!! xoxox Maye

  218. I’m a chatterbox, easily bored, and often multi-tasking. So I interrupt, fake listen etc. The #! place for me to use the IAP is my business conversations.

  219. I’m all over this one. I had the pleasure of listening to the youtube video on the drive back home for Christmas. Perfect advice for me for the holidays.

  220. Lisa

    This is similar to an old reporter’s technique: shut up and let them talk and you’ll get more of a story. People do not like uncomfortable silences and will often avoid them by continuing to talk, thus revealing more about themselves, situations, etc. We all need to listen to each other more in life. I completely believe it will help us in our relationships.

  221. Guilty on all three counts! Strategically I can use the IAP to get people to say more in response to my questions, but in every day conversations I interrupt (hello, what I have to say is more important!), I think about what I want to say (hello, I’m more important!) and I will fake listen (hello, I’m more important!) by looking at something else. I’m a good listener when I want to be…so I will practice the IAP so others know that I care!!!

  222. Liz

    Don’t we all want to be truly seen and heard… my worst habit, although I’m much better, is interrupting people… it’s not that what I have to say is more important but if I’m listening and getting excited about connecting with someone, I tend to try and finish their sentences. I am a quick thinker and talker (the NY in me) but now I live in rural South Jersey ( :-O ) so I have had to learn to slow it down and that people may take my enthusiasm as I’m not listening or indifferent.

    I think where I need to keep applying this is with new friends. I want to expand my circle and community and when people don’t know you well they can take certain behaviors the wrong way. And to truly connect I want people to know that I hear them and see them. And if someone kept interrupting me I’m sure I would really like that too much…

    But I wouldn’t say the pause is awkward – maybe I’m not doing it long enough, Speed Gonzalez over here, lol… love you and your videos… and your hair girl! Rock on! 🙂

  223. Bj

    I actually have the opposite problem. Listening is my best skill! I often feel I am not saying enough, that I won’t say the right thing, that the other person does not want to know what I think. These are not good things when I want to be seen as a professional.

  224. Really taking the time to hear what somebody is saying and listening is a skill that many could improve upon. The more I think about it the people I enjoy being with the most are often the best listeners 🙂

    • Lisa

      I am such an interrupter! I really need to just shut up and listen. Sometimes I’m so excited to share things we have in common or connect/empathize that I jump right in. What it really says to the person is that I don’t value their thoughts and feelings by jumping all over them. The exact opposite of my intention. I will try using the IAP and see what happens…

  225. stevie

    So very true of me, sorry.

    I believe my problem is because I am on my own all the time, two children at school one at home only at weekends, a husband who works offshore for weeks at a time; so I think when I finally get to see someone I have to get everything off my chest, I sometimes leave people wondering “where are we now” as I jump between subjects. I do know that if a person has a problem, I do listen intently and help where I can, I just love people but I am often so wrapped up in myself, this is terrible, you have found the true me, I now need to change, have written the IAP down to read to myself. And yes can be fake when a bit busy, known to do this as well, need to give myself a good talking to. You got me, Marie, love the advice.

  226. I actually listen, generally ask questions, and rephrase to let the person know I was listening. Listening is best part of communication not to mention how much you can learn. It’s also reassuring that the person you’re listening to knows that you are do so.

  227. Gracelove

    I am very guilty of this habit.I am always thinking of what to say once the speaker finished talking that is if i allow them finish at all..

    oh i make this mistake with my family mostly.

  228. Listening is the best gift we can give to anyone! My minor was in communications and I had to take a class on listening for a WHOLE semester! Though I was a pretty good listener before this, it helped me develop my skills further and I’ve always appreciated and try to always apply what I learned. Thanks for this message! A good reminder to listen. Truly listen.

  229. I totally dislike the API, I always try to find something to fill it with. I need to practice this more with my family. I interrupt people way too much for my liking and I’m always thinking about what I’m going to say next. I never thought of it as a problem, but now I see, the best way to learn is to zip that lip!

  230. As a hairstylist, I think this is a brilliant practice. So many misunderstandings and bad hair outcomes are a result of a stylist not listening to their client.

  231. Sarah

    I needed to hear this today! I was just speaking about being a better listener in the groups I am with. So, instead of faux listening, interrupting, or thinking about what I want to say next I am going to practice being silent in groups or important meetings.

  232. Thanks so much for this Marie! Great tip!
    We practice this in my acting class – great advice for stage and life.
    x Louise

  233. Pam

    This is brilliant advice; but what happens when two of you use IAP at the same time? That’s what happened talking with my son, so there was this rather long awkward pause followed by both of us talking at one! Help!!

  234. I finish other people’s sentences. It’s the most annoying and offensive thing. I hate it. It’s like I’m impatiently waiting for the speaker to say what they are trying to say. (Really I’m trying to express that I’m on the same page, but it doesn’t come across like that.) I can’t make it stop!!

    I’ll test drive the awkward pause the next time one of my clients calls. It works over the phone too right?

  235. Chimpanze acne. That cracked me up! Thanks, Marie!

  236. Marie, you are definitely a wealth angel in the full sense of the word.

  237. I truly enjoyed watching this video. I actually have practiced this in my new line of work at a software company. I take calls all day as a customer support representative to help a client solve a software issue and I always give a pause after they complete a sentence or two and to me it feels awkward like “Oh, I should probably say something” however, the client will go on with more information. My primary goal is to solve the issue in an efficient time frame so, the more information the better. Sometimes the client doesn’t exactly know what is the issue so, they will give more details which triggers key words that help me solve the problem almost instantly. Listening is truly powerful in all areas of life: personal or professional.

  238. Erin

    Love you Maire.
    Keep being yourself because we love her!
    You inspire me to be more myself everyday and be comfortable in my own skin (my resolution for 2015).

    Bless you babe.

  239. Hey Marie,

    Thank you for reposting this video. This is the second time I hear this message and I have been practising since and even made it part of my teaching in my coaching programs.

    It really does not take much to be more charismatic and influential.

    I still need to work on not interrupting, although I came a long way…lol
    Where it helps me the most is with my kids and in my relationship with my Beau.

  240. Jessica

    Interrupt and thinking about what I’m going to say.. It’s like I can’t stop it!! Actually, of my new year’s resolutions was to stop talking and actively listen more. Great vid, thanks!

  241. This is something that deeply resonates with me and what I am also both teaching as well as learning more about it continuously. I think that truly listening the other person helps us to connect with our wisdom.

    Thank you for this reminder Marie!

  242. Gabriela

    I think that the worst thing I do is to anticipate what people are going to say… as a CMA basically what I do for living (most of the time) is to facilitate environments so people feel comfortable to shift their patterns (movement, life, psicological..) I was trained to observe and identify this patters so sometimes I hurry the conversations instead of giving people time to process and do their own thing. I specially do this with my friends and family and sometimes it gets messy and people get upset with me.

    I wonder if I am abusing my ability… maybe there are things people just don’t want me to know or to talk about it… and since I basically understand the world through non-verbal Q’s it’s kind of hard not to use it to follow the conversations.

    Thank Marie… I think I will use this 3 second pause also to stop giving for granted what people have to say… its time to have a little bit of humility dont you think???



  243. My worst listening habit : the endless urge of preparing the answers/opinions/advices. And yes i interrupt people a lot. I believe i would cut the conversation short & drive to a conclusion, but i know am being a jerk by doing so 🙁
    The most impactful place where a correction would do wonders : conversations with friends.

  244. Amy

    When “listening” I find myself thinking about what I will say next, more so because I want to provide support to the person speaking & my concern is not knowing what to say when it’s time to say it. With that challenge, I need to remind myself that being present is as valuable as something I might or might not say in response. I will be practicing the 3 second IAP more and more as a Health Coach. I am attending IIN & as some of you may know Joshua teaches us the importance of listening. It will be a skill I must continue practicing to improve. Anyone here from IIN?

  245. Hey Marie! LOVE THIS POST! It’s so important that we listen. It’s also important that we speak other people’s “language”. There is a new Non-Profit organization, Our Community Listens, that is teaching these very principles! The 3 day course is FREE in a handful of pilot cities. I took it in September 2014 and it will dramatically improve relationships with your spouse, children, parents, employees, co-workers, clients. There is no sales pitch for anything. HIGHLY recommend! Check it out!

    • Do you jump in? Do you finish sentences? Are you waiting for the other person to finish so you can say something? Do you data mine? Social anxiety? Want to know how to confront effectively? It’s all in there!

  246. Barbara TOut

    My downfall is interrupting others and focusing on what I want to say. I am so often missing so much valuable information and I am in constant disconnection for my family, friends and co-workers. HELP!!! I want to change this in order to be successful in my personal and business life!

  247. I’m a really good listener (thanks to Dale Carnegie), but for someone reason I’m not such a good listener to my husband! I interrupt him all the time, or I simply speak way too much!!

    He’s my best friend and so because of this I get a little too excited about things when I am talking to him.. I must and will work on this. Thanks Marie, I love your work. You’re amazing. Thank you

    • Kristin - Team Forleo

      Maria, I don’t think you’re alone in this! But it’s great that you have so much awareness around it and strive to be a better listener for your husband 🙂

  248. You can easily start out ith a computer webcam, mobile phone,
    or any video recorder that you hsve access to.
    There are also hundreds of thousands of videos that
    have been uploaded in there. Cultivating concentrated consumer interest through standard approaches such aas tv andd radio required
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  249. Solin

    I watched “Improve Your Communication Skills In 3 Seconds” on YouTube, It is very good and useful also the other videos & I want to ask two questions anyone can faced in his/her life & job :

    take an example: I’m good listener and I don’t interrupt any one talking ,, it’s good & bad in a same time. Because if I listen and wait the speaker to stop talking ,, I lose my place to talk (cause some time they change the topic :$)

    And also, when in some countries they learned & said to student : you should interrupt people but in smooth way or you will not get anytime to speak or show you ideas,, while in others countries, interrupt means not respect, however they also interrupt others and not listen 🙁 .

    how can solve this 2 problems ?? cause it’s very important to know how should anyone deal with them in his/her life & job.

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Hi Solin! We’re so glad you found our video on YouTube, and thank you so much for stopping by. If you’re interested in submitting your questions for a future MarieTV episode, you can do that at the bottom of this page: Just click where it says “Got a Q for Marie to A on MarieTV? Submit it here” to zip right to the submission form.

      It can definitely be tough when we want to be respectful and listen to others if we’re not given a chance to speak ourselves. While that definitely can differ from country to country as you mentioned, I think in most places the most important thing is being respectful of the other person. Sometimes that can mean saying something like “excuse me, before we move on to another topic, I have something I wanted to share with you” and sometimes that might mean waiting a little bit for a natural break in the conversation. When done in a kind way, interrupting doesn’t always have to be disrespectful.

      We’ve done a few other great MarieTV episodes about what to do when dealing with a variety of sticky situations, so definitely do take a peek at this playlist for some more thoughts and tips:

  250. Charlie

    I’ve noticed throughout my military career that high ranking leaders use IAP, but they don’t do it as a way of listening, the use it as an intimidation tactic. They’ll call you in their office and just sit there in awkward silence, staring you down until you open you’re mouth and you speak as to why you think they’ve call you in. I’ve mastered keeping my mouth shut and not saying a word. I know what they’re doing, and I do it right back. Sometimes IAP is used as a tactic in the “he/she who speaks first loses”

    • Caroline - Team Forleo

      Charlie, thank you for stopping by and sharing your comment. Our intent with the IAP is never to make someone feel uncomfortable or use it as a scare tactic — it’s meant to be simply a way to hold space for people to feel comfortable sharing more information or asking questions.

      Your comment is a great example that intent is such an important part of any tip or technique, and we always advocate for being kind whenever possible!

  251. You’re really great. You captured me.
    I’m usually a good listener exept when I’m with a friend who I haven’t seen for a long time. I want to talk of as many topic as possible. I also try to anticipate her.

  252. I could definitely use the I.A.P. (Intentional Awkward Pause) communication strategy at my workplace!

  253. I liked this video. Listening is very important. Thank you.

  254. I don’t fully agree. If we all start to listen, nobody will ever speak;)
    I do understand how important is to listen to others. I have a problem with interrupting, but I’ve noticed that if I don’t speak sometimes, I loose my chance to tell my opinion on the subject.
    I have also tried to practice listening at the business network meetings. Well, everyone were speaking but me. Nobody was truly interested in what I do. While I was asking others about their businesses, noone was asking me.
    I was always very chatty, had a lot of opinions and a lot to say. Yet, since I was a child, I was told that I talk too much. I’ve been always criticized for it, for who I am. Now I hear again that the listening is better. It probably is, but every time I practice it, I feel like I’m not myself and most of the time I’m ignored if I don’t speak.
    Don’t take me wrong, I do like to listen to others and I do when someone tells me important things or share their problems or concerns. But it doesn’t always work with people who I met for the first time, when I have the only chance to make an impression and show them what I do and who I am.

  255. Interrupting and planning what I’m going to say… guilty as charged! I’m going to use the Intentional Awkward Pause in two places: in my relationship with my fiancé, and also when I meet new people (I have been doing a lot of networking lately). I need to turn my advice-giving impulses down… My goal is to practice this so much that I become one of those wonderful people who make others feel really heard, and remember all the important things they’ve said :). I am genuinely SO interested in other people and would love my communication style to reflect that.

  256. hello Marie hope to be fine and healthy.
    it has been along time i am following you on Facebook and, YouTube.
    i can’t say how much i enjoy watching your video, i can’t sleep if i don’t watch your video really i recently watched your live with Gabby i can’t say how much i enjoyed that. and i really appreciate your hard work and your nice video out on Facebook i know how much you helping people all over the world and trying to make the world better place.
    and i really looking forward to reach you out on Email.
    lots of love.
    Ali Rahimi.

  257. Kristina

    I think this is great advice and something I’ve received as positive feedback from my managers, that I am a good active listener. I try to listen and not chime in until i have something valuable to say (especially when there are so many others in a meeting who will not listen and speak just to hear their own voice). BUT the same managers have also said that some people perceive my “active listening” as being disinterested, so it feels like a catch 22. How do you find the balance between both ends of that feedback?

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