The Power in Silence
Effective communication, conversation and consultation are vital in our support of others to learn about, and discern risk. So vital in fact, that if I were asked; “what is the one of the most helpful things that we could do to better support others in dealing with risk? I would certainly include conversations high up on the list.
So this sounds pretty straight forward right? We can better support others simply by striking up more conversations, by chatting with people more, or by having a yarn?
But is it that simple? And, if it is, why do so many of us struggle to do this well?
In this piece, I ponder on how we can make our conversations effective. In particular, I explore the power that silence may play in this.
While it may seem counter-intuitive (particularly for us in the western world), silence can be one of the most impactful, and influential, part of any conversation. If our focus is on others, speaking less and listening more, are critical ingredients in the mix of what makes a conversation effective.
That is, when we direct our attention to what Buber calls, ‘meeting’ people, rather than simply existing with them, this is when we really join in relationship with others. Sometimes it might be what we don’t say that can create ‘meeting’, rather than existing.
Sometimes not responding with answers to questions, or concerns, is the most powerful response. And sometimes, when we allow the space and time for thinking and reflection, this is when others can learn so much. If we see our role to provide answers and solutions to every problem, perhaps this is one of the things that makes silence in conversation seem counter intuitive, and uncomfortable.
So why can silence be so hard to deal with at times? Why may we find it awkward and distressing? And, why do we so often feel the need to fill the space of silence with words and constant chatter?
I share my reflection on this HERE.