Even though I consider myself a good communicator, having teenage children in my late 50s has posed new challenges to my communication skills. Consequently, during conversations with our kids, I’m trying very hard to listen without saying anything except in answer to direct questions. I’ll be real: I fail at this a lot. Yet when I succeed, I usually get a hug. So if Pavlov was right, someday I’m going to improve at this practice.
If you want to try this in any of your relationships, the goal of this listening exercise is to be pleasant while practicing it. Don’t let anyone know you’re doing this. Just practice it. Don’t give the impression that you’re suffering and deserve a reward or that all your listening is causing you a bad headache. Be as ordinary as possible; just do not speak. Listen. Answer any questions with as few words as possible and do not attempt to get the other person to ask you a question.
Doing this helps us realize that we may otherwise rush into speech, because we’ve seen an expression on another’s face that we interpret as misunderstanding or confusion. The impulse then is to keep talking and try again. Yet continuing to speak usually does not resolve the supposed misunderstanding. Such attempts likely linger in the listeners’ minds, further clouding the issue, making us ineffectual at best.
When we make our silence last, we feel stronger. Others feel heard. The longer we make our silences last, the more thoughtful and purposeful the conversation seems to be.
Try it to see how your communication with another can positively change. Now let me ask you a question: Can you tell me why this giraffe is photo-bombing my picture?
I’m @DianGriesel aka @SilverDisobedience a Perception Analyst, Author of The Silver Disobedience Playbook and a direct model with Wilhelmina New York. I share my Daily Meditations for other Ageless, Passionate & Curious People. #SilverDisobedience