What happens to you when there is a silence?
What happens to you when someone else looks like they are struggling to respond to either a question you have presented or perhaps a question presented by others?
Do you know any of these characters or could this be you.
The Silence Killer
The Silence Killer is unable to be quiet if they ask a question and someone does not answer immediately, they either answer the question for them or they ask another question or do something. They might use humour to fill the gap by laughing at something or someone else but they will have to do something, they just can’t stop themselves.
The Conversation Rescuer
The Conversation rescuer, when asking someone a question, will feel awful if someone else looks awkward or looks like they can’t answer. They will jump in and help them out. Even if they have not asked the question. If they see someone else has seemingly been ‘put on the spot’ they will jump in with a response wanting to take the pressure off that person.
John asks Sylvia, “What would you like to have happen?”
Sylvia looks up, blushes and looks awkward and her initial response is “eerh mmm, I don’t know”.
- Wait with a patient and curious attitude. Look away taking the pressure off and even look like your thinking about the answer but not say anything
- Maintain eye contact and smile and wait for a response and then eventually when you cant wait any longer, you chip in with:
- have you thought about…..
- or you could…..
- or what I would like to have happen is…..
- or perhaps some other question
Notice over the next few days how many people do you know that are silence killers or conversation rescuers? Are you one?
The Problem with this approach to conversation is that when you are asking really great questions people will need varying amounts of time to respond.
It could be the first time they have ever been asked the question and therefore they have never considered a response before.
Notice how much you are processing now, and then become curious about how much more you notice over the coming days about how often you interrupt another peoples thinking. (this is different to interrupting their speaking)
Right now the information could be really new for you and therefore you can’t respond to this article. On the other hand you might be recalling what others have said, ” you don’t give me time to think” or as you say something they might say “I need time to think”.
You may have heard yourself saying these things when someone is asking you questions and you feel they are not giving you time to respond.
Plan your next best step
Now you know that, what would you like to have happen next?
What needs to happen for you to give and receive the right amount of time to think?
If you would like to:
- Know more about Extreme Listening for Productive Thinking
- Create more time for others to think
- Have more time to think for yourself
Thank you for listening