Sunday, April 26, 2015

Listening versus talking

As the song goes ... "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven". In any conversation or meeting there's a time to listen and a time to talk. Unfortunately in many environments there's an implicit peer pressure to be heard and be seen to be heard (!) even if what is then said doesn't advance the conversation. Yet often the right thing to do is listen, think and remain quiet until and unless you've got something to say which does add to the overall thread. But guess what? That can be harder to do than you might think, especially as meetings become very vocal and people verbally challenge each other to be the dominant individual.

It takes a lot of control in these situations to listen and not react, especially when there may be so many other people jostling to be heard and yet not really saying anything additive to the meeting. In fact others in such meetings may take silence as an indication of your disconnection from the conversation, or lack of understanding, which could lead you to want to say something (anything) just to prevent that kind of interpretation. But trust me ... Sometimes silence really is golden!

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