Signals that you should keep your mouth shut and listen

15th October 2013
Silence is a part of effective communication.

Choosing not to speak when you really, really want to and continuing to pay attention. The reasons for this are that you may be missing subtle non verbal cues that could be telling you far more than words. Denying your initial impulse to step across a conversation, to stamp your foot, to talk over or to provide an immediate solution are different ways that you can lose engagement and with it the chance that your conversation will go the way you want it to.

Sometimes its very easy just to short cut to the ‘solution’ in a conversation. Providing a solution may not be the response the person opposite you is looking for as not all conversations conclude with this outcome. I know, it may sound daft, but some conversations are more about being a sounding board than problem solver. If you find yourself playing catch up, especially in high pressure situations, communication can be lost by attempting to show your understanding on a matter that has been discussed but you did not speak up at the time.

You lost your chance, move on. Otherwise you can look slow on the uptake. We all know competitive speakers and sometimes two people just talking over each other, consider PMs question time, just appears childish and fruitless. It says a lot about modern politicians that witty retorts are replaced by frothy mouthed shouting, but hey I didn’t vote for them. If you are angry, for any direct or indirect reason, it will not help your cause to display anger UNLESS it is relevant to the conversation in that immediate moment. Finally if you are getting the finger pointing,the fixed stare and the didactic language, there are few words you can say that will help this conversation. Don’t get me wrong strong assertiveness can be an appropriate response to aggressive behaviour, but on many occasions its better to walk away.

For the listeners out there, here is the audio version;

Listen on SoundCloud

Best wishes


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