“The empty vessel makes the greatest sound.”
William Shakespeare, Henry V (Act IV, scene 4)
Omer Glass, Elementary School (V Grade)
In the altMBA, Seth Godin asked me to practice silence in my conversations.
So, I tried my best to create moments of silence wherever I could.
It looked like that:
It was fun. It was helpful. It was awkward. I loved it.
10 things I’ve learned from it:
- I talk too much. Israeli + an extrovert is a rough combination. I tend to jump into the conversation in the middle of a sentence. I’ve noticed the large difference between my regular talking habit to the current state of “seeking the silence”.
- Silence Feels good. It makes the conversation more relaxed, more fun and less exhausting.
- Silence increases the focus on the other person. When I was looking for opportunities to create silence, I have noticed that I am much more focused on the other person’s experience, thoughts & feelings and less about what I want to say.
- …But not always — in case of a small talk, if I am silent after the other person finished talking (#1 in the comic) or if I just pause in the middle of a sentence (#2), it is just weird. I tried it alot and I may need to find new friends now.
- When the conversation is significant (#4–6) you can’t go wrong with silence. every time I used silence while I or the other person were saying something important, it has built a positive tension and/or the message was more powerful. Especially after a question I asked.
- It’s a great tool to highlight a point. Making a few seconds pause after saying something important (#5) increases its impact.
- It helps the other person understand me. Our ability to process information is limited. Silence decreases the amount of information, thus it is easier to understand what we want.
- People agree with me more. I tried to challenge stubborn people in hard and important challenges in order to make a good use of the exercise. In a magical way, they have all agreed.
- It is hard to keep the silence. Most of the times I created silence, the other person tried to fill the void with talking. It is important not to let go, and keep silence (but not in a weird way) to benefit from it.
- When you run out of ideas, use < Silence >