The majority of calls where individuals feel deeply connected to the person they speak to is a quality of cultivating and listening to the silences according to Public Speaking Courses. It is essential to take time to allow the other’s words to settle, or to let the words that you just said settle and wait to see what comes next.
The initial and most visible benefit to this is that while doing this, it cures the habit to interrupt. The discussion becomes much more interesting and you are more interested in what the other has to say and this has a huge impact on the way of listening and on the connection with this person. You no longer think about the response when you’re listening, you are simply listening. And this means when it comes to a response, you have been able to hear what the other had to say – not only their words but the 90% of the communication that is conveyed beyond the words themselves. Therefore, it’s easier to interact in a way that is completely appropriate and in a way that satisfies them.
The second advantage is quite subtle. Listening to the silences somehow shifts the attention beyond to the bigger image. You can observe the trees and clouds outside the window, the space seems to expand, “You” seem less important. This makes it a lot easier to see the conversation from a less personal view. It’s a lot easier to let go of firmly held points of view and to see it from the other’s point of view and even see a much wider and more global perspective. This is both relaxing and in the same time very powerful.
The third benefit is linked to the second, which is that the other person can also get drawn into this bigger picture. There is usually at the same time a way deeper sense of personal connection, while the selfish personal aspects are somehow taken less seriously by both sides. This is immensely releasing and really helpful to build relationships and to fix problems. It’s an extremely creative space.
However, don’t start calls with thirty seconds of silence – you could freak out whoever you’re talking to! Allow a bit longer silences than normal and perhaps allow these to grow longer as the phone call progresses or as the situation seems to require it.
And this principle certainly affects hugely when talking in public. You could start your talk by spending ten or 15 seconds making eye contact with the audience in silence, as you may have noticed that many of the best speakers do. Take the necessary time while speaking to pause to allow your words to sink in and wait to listen and find out what actually needs to be said after that. Get rid of the notion that silence is something to be filled and allow it to be an ally. It makes a huge difference.
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