In Others’ Words: Listening to the Silence
How often do we think listening to someone is all about hearing what they said?
Consider for a moment those conversations when the unspoken words were the most important part of of the dialogue. You’re talking or you’re listening — communicating — but the most important words that need to be said by you or the other person go unspoken.
Maybe if the other person is watching you closely, they pick up on your body language — the tilt of your head, the way you’ve turned away, the lift of an eyebrow — and they sense the silent undercurrent of the conversation.
And what about you? Are you talking, talking, talking — and missing what’s being said even when someone else goes silent?
Sometimes it’s not that the unsaid part of a conversation is the best part — it’s the absolute most vital part of the conversation. Miss it, and you miss the point altogether.
This is why casual conversations are okay over phone or text — but trying to talk out misunderstandings are not. You miss all the unsaid parts, and too often the misunderstanding grows. Conversation isn’t just what’s being said out loud — it’s also what’s being said in the silence behind your words.
In Your Words: When has silence made a difference in a conversation? How do you ensure you don’t miss the unsaid parts when you’re talking to someone?
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