Silence is Golden…and Pauses are Too

by Jo-Ann Downey

in Relationship Communication Skills

Post image for Silence is Golden…and Pauses are Too

I invite you to pause and think about this: everything you say, you already know.  There isn’t anything you can say that you do not already know, or think that you know.  When you are talking, there is very little space for receiving knowledge, input or feedback from another person. Perhaps we were better off as children when we didn’t know as many words!

Silence is a Powerful Communication Tool

As shared in “There is No Such Thing as a Table for Two”, each of us is complex and unique.  Even if you do your best to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you truly cannot know exactly what they are thinking or feeling.  You can, however, give them the space to openly share with you by practicing silence.

As presented in “The 93% Impact of Nonverbal Communication”, most of what we communicate is nonverbal.  Silence is perhaps the most powerful nonverbal communication skill you can use.  You cannot be 100% present with another person if you are talking because talking is a mental, or thinking, activity.  To be truly present with, and for, another person as shared in “Seeing from your Heart”, you need to get out of your head and into your heart.

Silence Says a Lot

Saying nothing is saying a lot. Silence says that you are open to being 100% present in the moment, open to learning, and open to truly understanding the other person’s ideas, feedback, input, thoughts and feelings; it says that you are open to the positive development of the relationship.

“Do not speak unless you can improve the silence.”  Proverb

Practice Silence each Day – 3-5 second Pauses

Practicing silence does not need to be taken to an extreme – talking is an important and necessary part of life and successful personal and professional relationships.  One way to use the power of silence is to pause in silence for 3-5 seconds after someone finishes their train of thought.  This gives them the space to continue, or to go deeper within themselves, and to share more with you.  In reality, you don’t know when they are complete with a thought anyway, so this would mean you would practice more and more silence!

At the same time, you can wait 3-5 seconds after you complete a thought before moving on to your next thought.  This space gives the other person the opportunity to provide you with input.

Very Smart Girls share more by talking less.

photo credit: jos dielis

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