Most of us are very good at talking. Most of us are extremely good at giving advice. I wonder if most of us though, are not so good at just being with silence?
Often when I am on the train I observe those around me having conversations. And in the workplace too. I notice that the gap between someone talking and the other person speaking is actually often not there – because we fill the gap with our own words, advice, views and opinions.
I wonder, therefore, how many of us feel truly heard.
If we want to empower our teams, get the most out of them, and actually develop those around us, silence is key.
Think back to times in your life when you were able to speak without someone interrupting you, or giving you their opinion or advice. How did that feel? What did you get from that conversation?
Benefits of silence
- The other person feels listened to, heard and valued
- Judgment is suspended
- They solve their own challenges instead of hearing your advice, making them more self-sufficient and likely to be able to solve the challenge themselves the next time it happens
- Delegation happens more naturally
- You can get to the root of the issue rather than the surface issue
- The other person can feel your curiosity in them, which helps them uncover even more
- Your presence as a leader increases
I work with leaders frequently who are time poor, and even this one skill of silence can bring about significant change. Working with a coach means you are on the receiving end of silence for some of the time. And once you feel the benefit yourself you can start to cultivate more silence in your own conversations with your team.
How to cultivate more silence
- Initially, start to notice the quality of your own conversations – do you have a tendency to interrupt or give an opinion?
- When someone is talking to you, notice if you are multi-tasking – either physically or mentally. If you are then practice just being in the conversation, and come back to the diversions after the conversation.
- When you do speak ask an open question rather than giving an opinion or advice – notice what happens – does the other person further their thoughts and ideas?
- Cultivate your own inner silence – are you always thinking things and doing things, if so then develop some moments in the day where you just let yourself stop and be silent, even if only for a few minutes
Illuminate you limited offers executive coaching, leadership programmes and coaching skills for leaders and professionals who want to develop their leadership style and presence. Get in touch to find out how we can help you with the benefits of silence.