Why can’t we be silent during a conversation? Because we feel we must always be talking or asking questions to keep the conversation moving forward. We are always anticipating what we are going to say next which keeps us from being silent. Therefore , we become engaged in an endless stream of dialogue where both parties never stop to think, absorb or process what is being said. Rather, the goal in our conversations is to talk, ask questions and avoid silence.
However, by avoiding silence we don’t allow ourselves or the person we are talking too the opportunity to:
- Think- Silence gives you a moment to think about what is being said
- Reflect- Silence allows you to reflect on your answer rather than responding emotionally and impulsively
- Absorb- Silence allows you to absorb the information and content being delivered
Next time you are in a conversation see how many silent pauses you or the person you are talking to have during your discussion. If the answer is zero ask yourself what did you get out of that conversation? Where you able to think, reflect and absorb what was being communicated?
In closing, as a speaker I have been trained to pause throughout my keynote addresses when talking to groups and organizations. Professional speakers say audiences must have time to think, reflect and absorb when we are talking otherwise the information will never be processed.
How many conversations do you have where information is never processed?