I can’t help but think that when Karen and I first started dating, there was nothing worse than ‘dead air’ in conversation. Before our dates, I would think through an exhaustive list of things that I could potentially ask her. The problem was, I had to remember what I had already asked her so I wouldn’t repeat myself! Any hint of lethargy in our conversations felt awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes downright scary.
Well, no matter how hard I prepared, as the extrovert of extroverts that I am, the conversation would inevitably lull for a few seconds (which felt like a few hours).
Can I get an amen? I’m assuming in my vulnerability that I’m not alone, so it makes it much more humorous.
Since those early days, Karen and I have slowly but surely forged a platform of trust that has liberated us from these unnecessary worries. Now, some of the sweetest times are when we are sitting together and completely embracing the silence. Our mere presence together is enough. No need to speak; no need to act.
I believe the reason this can be so challenging is that people don’t get a chance to breathe anymore. We place so many expectations on ourselves and one another. Not to mention, American culture equates all activity as good activity, and this cannot be further from the truth.
We need to learn to slow down and move past the fear that silence and stillness is not ok. Not only is it ok, but we need it to be effective in any relationship.
Connecting like this with a team member will happen naturally over time as your trust grows.
Here are a couple of key points to remember:
1) Embrace silence in the midst of any line of communication. The more comfortable you are with silence, the more others will be too.
2) When you embrace silence, you can begin to let the moment sink in and be more sensitive and discerning. Where to go, what to do, and how to say something will become clearer.
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