I‘ve been too hasty to give advice in the past. Sometimes we can believe we have it all figured out and we know best before we’ve really understood the context. Stephen Covey had it right when he said ‘seek first to understand, then be understood.’ I now practice the habit of more attentive listening. I do so relentlessly in all my interactions. It’s been a real game-changer in all aspects of life.

With the patience to hold back, and invite the person you are interacting with to arrive at their own solution it unearths so many new insights and discoveries. It builds confidence and resilience.

The silence in conversations can be uncomfortable, which is why we often rush to fill the empty void with words.

This can close off so many powerful learning opportunities which enable people to feel great about finding a solution themselves. I think we should learn to embrace the power of the silent pause in conversations, as that is often where the learning really takes place. It is not about one person empowering another, this defeats the whole point. It is about people empowering themselves.

I’d love to hear what people think?


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Kevin Miller
My 'Why' is to inspire a movement towards truly people-centred organizations. Organizations which see the person first and the employee second. A Coach, facilitator, and catalyst for positive change, I thrive on the challenge of making the world of work better and more humanized for people in organizations. I love networking and collaborating to share fresh ideas, insights and to learn. I have an in-depth knowledge and practical 'hands-on' experience of leading HR and Organizational Development projects. I am a visionary who rethinks what is possible when it comes to HR, leadership and the future of work, igniting positive change in others. Never forgetting the real reason behind my work, I love spending time with my wife Kelly and my children who are the centre of my world and the reason behind my 'Why'.
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Peter Cook

For advice to work, there must be a valid psychological contract. Silence can be a good choice

Peter Cook

p.s. Sorry I was unable to remain silent on this !! :-)

Lynn Forrester-Pitocco

Someone once told me that if your speaking before the person can finish their statement then you are not really listening. I have worked on this so much, it now is natural and I am passing the advice on.

Colin D. Smith

Agreed Lynn, helpful to both the speaker and the listener.

Colin D. Smith

Great point Kevin. Even taking another breath before replying can be enough for the speaker to continue speaking. Even a simple three seconds, whilst feeling like an eternity, can open things up. What is so lovely, is that when this happens, quite often the speaker will begin with, “I have never said this before”, or “I have only just realised…”.

Because we are in what seems to be a ‘competitive’ environment and the speaker is often revered, rather than the listener, we have either prepared what we want to say next and if not make a noise, enough to get the moment to speak, we then blurt out what is at the forefront of our mind. Given silence, enables the next wave of thinking to happen with more meaningful results.

Colin