Photo by the author
Silence is something more of us should do. The more social media that I read, the more I think that humankind has a need to be heard, to always respond. Despite the need to respond, we don’t always want someone to give us feedback. Feedback is sometimes the hot button that just makes a person clam up.
The opportunities around silence are immense.
- Silence from others, allows us to process what is affecting us. Immediate feedback only disrupts this process.
- Silence communicates a respect when you are listening. It allows others to know you are present with them, not discounting what they are saying.
- People in pain, don’t need automatic response. They need presence.
- Silence keeps us from sometimes saying something we should not say. It keeps us out of hot water.
Knowing when to be silent and when to respond.
- Respond when the person appears ready to accept your response. Keep your eye contact focused on the other person. Keep a safe but engaged distance
- Silence means you are processing what is being said. Respond only when you are expected to respond, ask questions, configure your language to reflect what is being said
- Responding is not always necessary. Respond in ways that you would like others to respond to you. Take time to focus on other’s immediate needs.
Asking permission to respond is a respectful transition. The other person will let you know when they are ready to receive your response. Then they will be ready to complete the transition.