I know, I know… an unlikely image for one of my blog entries! Just to set the record straight, I have nothing against Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer. In fact, i have enjoyed one or two (maybe a few more!) over the years and there is something special about drinking an ice cold “PBR” out of a 16 oz. “tallboy” can. Very refreshing!
What I want to share today is how those letters, the easy to remember “PBR” have become an often used coaching tool in my vocabulary. Through out my career, I have often found myself in the middle of some discussion, presentation or debate “chomping at the bit” to answer a question, refute a point, or clarify an issue. I don’t know about you, but especially early in my worklife there were moments when I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from butting right in and responding. I realized over time that if I could just slow down for a moment, listen more deeply to the discussion/debate, that I would understand the situation much more clearly and my response was able to be all the more impactful. While not foolproof, I started to work on this idea and I co-opted the famous acronym ,”PBR”, to help me remember to slow it down. “PBR” started to mean to me to “Pause”, “Breathe”, and “Reconnect” . The idea was that rather than quickly diving into an issue or a debate with a not very well thought through comment, my metal model was to try to slow down and “Pause”, take a moment and “Breathe.” Assess the situation, the landscape, the personalities, the politics, the body language, etc. Then and only then, “Reconnect” to the discussion/debate and bring a more thoughtful response to the issues at hand.
Over the past few months, this idea of “PBR”, has become the center point in discussions with a number of friends and consulting clients. I have found myself looking for logos, cans, 12packs, t-shirts, etc. all with the famous “PBR” logo, to use as helpful reminders. The friends and clients have put them in their offices, into their notebooks, on the back of their blackberries, all trying to keep the idea of “Pause, Breathe, and Reconnect”, front and center in their day to day environments. What has been interesting to me is the feedback from these folks trying to use this simple idea. Their comments have been that while it has been helpful in live interactions (where I personally needed the most help), many have found it very helpful in the midst of e-mail interactions. How easy it is to shoot off a quick email or text message with out taking a moment to slow things down and consider the situation … another moment for “PBR”!
As you go about your day, keep “PBR” in mind. Whether in live interactions, phone calls, or email/text communications, practice “Pausing, Breathing, and Reconnecting”, and see how it might enhance and improve your communications. As part of the process, if you need to drain a few cans or bottles to acquire the required “mnemonic triggers”, please enjoy responsibly!