Thursday Thoughts: More Conversations — the Sounds of Silence

I was reading Entrepreneur magazine the other day, and I found an article entitled “Get Better at Everything,” which is the type of article I usually do NOT read because it’s usually trite stuff. You know, stuff that’s been written, rewritten, and regurgitated thousands of times. Blah, blah, blah.

But this one — good for Entrepreneur! — was better than most.

One idea that struck me was from a sixth-generation funeral director named Caleb Wilde, who wrote a book entitled “Confessions of a Funeral Director: How the Business of Death Saved my Life.” No, I haven’t read it — yet.

But he made a point in this article about not filling the air with chatter, about being comfortable with silence.

And it struck a chord with me, given that I recently wrote a post about including silence in conversations. As Caleb Wilde wrote: “People need time to collect themselves when they’re confronted with something highly emotional.”

Indeed. And what could much more emotional than being any part of a funeral? Especially for someone dearly loved?

But even when we’re not confronted with that type of emotional hit, we can still learn how to use silence to help ourselves and others. (Caleb Wilde)

The big question is: Are we comfortable with silence?

Is it OK for two (or more) people to sit quietly for a few moments / minutes — whatever it takes — and NOT talk? To reflect on what we might have said or had been thinking … or what the other person might have said / been thinking? Can we allow it to happen, or do we feel compelled to rush into speech, creating noise where once there was silence?

I know I’m a talker, many times talking way too much. I love being alone and living quietly in my small cottage, but something about being with other people brings out the gabber in me. Focusing on using silence to help a conversation be easier for everyone in it is something I’m going to do consciously, deliberately. I need to learn to be comfortable not talking … I need to focus on listening.

How about you? Do you find yourself talking to keep things moving, to make noise? Do you allow silence to exist in an emotional or business-type conversation?

Simon & Garfunkle’s Sounds of Silence: People hearing without listening. Indeed.
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