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Silence Can Solve Problems That Words Cannot

Silence Can Solve Problems That Words Cannot

Silence. A seldom used means of communication. Those who have made it big in life have always known the importance of silence, and how it packs nuclear power when used in the right proportion and in the right situation.

Ever tried keeping quiet in the middle of a fight? Your silence can solve problems that you are trying to solve with the verbal battle. You can create a place for you in someone’s heart if you really know how to be quiet. In a professional world, your silence and your ability to listen can make you far more confident and credible. Whether it’s to improve your life personally or professionally, silence can prove to be an excellent problem-solver in ways that words sometimes cannot be.

Building Relationships

Madeline and Stewart have been married for the last ten years. Love and grievances have commingled in their relationship, leading to occasional fights. They almost always know what the other person is going to say, so they presume each other’s reactions and lash out accordingly. What happens then? No one listens. They both talk, and walk out frustrated.

Stewart considered a change in this routine. He decided to let Madeline speak and to be silent, to intently listen to her. Sure, there were many times where he wanted to lash out, but instead he consciously stayed quiet. He tried to learn and understand what she was mad about. Just for one day.

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It took a lot of patience but certain things came to him as a surprise. There were many things that actually made sense! So, the next time a disagreement arose, he consciously corrected himself where he felt justified. From there, the relationship changed, Madeline noticed changes in him and felt the urge to change for him. The magic of silence, even after ten years, made a beautiful transformation possible for them and their relationship.

Silence can solve problems in a multitude of other ways in relationships. Here are some of the most common issues that relationships are met with and how to use silence to repair them:

  1. If your best friend is rude to you, ask him or her why, and then be silent and listen while keeping an open mind.
  2. As a parent, you are not getting through to your teenage child. Stop preaching. Be silent and listen to your kid. Your child may surprise you with his or her insights.
  3. Your quiet girlfriend or boyfriend might have things to tell you that you will hear only if you stop talking and create the space for their words to come into play.

Be silent and spend time with yourself. There are things that you probably need to tell yourself but they often get lost in the humdrum of life.Try it once. Even one day can make a difference. Your silence can solve problems that you might have in your relationship with other people or your relationship with yourself that have been archived for years and decades.

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Silence can solve problems

    The Professional World – Inducing Deliberate Silence

    Inducing silence is a technique often used by killer negotiators. Most conversationalists and deal-makers know this trick.[1] Below we illustrate how silence can solve problems in the professional world.

    Let’s say you need to convince your boss on a slightly unfair proposal. You walk into your boss’ office with a proposal to extend the Christmas holidays by two days for all members on staff. Sure enough, he or she outright refuses. Potential reasons? It might not be in their power, they might have some urgent job to complete before the holidays, or worse, they might not care much about his people.

    Scenario A

    Let’s say you assume that he does not care for his people. You start speaking right away, trying to explain how desperately people need the additional days, given the pressure of the last quarter. Well, your boss knows that and the reason for his refusal is grave. What happens then? An obvious confrontation – passive or aggressive. Finally, you walk out feeling disgusted and, most importantly, having failed to convince him or her of what you initially wanted for you and your coworkers.

    Scenario B

    Let’s say you have prepared two arrows in your quiver – two great proposals that can convince him. However, you do not use them right away. They will come out later. Rather, instead of saying anything, you induce deliberate silence. You let your boss break the silence while giving you relevant information. “You don’t understand”, they say, “There is a lot of work pressure right now. We cannot let people leave before the holidays. There are targets to fulfill!”

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    You are now narrowing down potential reasons and getting closer to the real reason. They have told you that the favor can’t be granted because of deadlines not being met. With a better idea of the overall problem, you can delve deeper. Ask them: “Which projects are you worried about?” When they give an explanation, you will know which arrow to use. Tell them a logical and acceptable way out. So you can propose staying back late and completing the project well before the deadline, and ask if he or she is okay with that solution. They are still not convinced. Being in two minds now, they challenge you, indicating that might not work. You can use your best arrow to seal the deal now! You counter by offering to stay back and close the job before you leave at any cost, keeping back whoever is needed, well before the holidays.

    See what you did there?

    Scenario B was much more successful, largely, in part, because of inducing silence. You expected resistance, but you did not presume anything. You did not lash out, rather you used silence to your advantage. You understood the problem and worked around it. In the end, you placed a solution that benefits everyone in the bargain – a fair solution that also made sense to your boss, and that is why they accepted it.

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    Silence can solve problems

      Silence Can Solve Problems In Multifaceted Ways

      This is not all. Silence can solve problems in several additional ways in the professional world. If you are facing an interview board and you are completely charged up and ready to answer every question, be silent, listen intently, and understand the question first. Your answers will sound professional and the board will be impressed by your poise and grip because you took time to listen and really think out the words that you say. If your colleague is instructing you over something routine that you have done a number of times and you do not need instructions to, do not be impatient, just listen. You might find new information and new ways to do things.

      Silence can solve problems if you simply know how to listen and keep an open mind. As the master of the ship, I often end up giving specific instructions to my juniors. At the end, however, I leave an open question. I ask: “Any suggestions from your end?”

      This is when I listen intently and wait for new information. You would be surprised at all the ways my juniors have surprised me with their insight and innovative ways to do things.

      This is how silence can solve problems, which is far from anything words can do by themselves. A negotiator needs to build a bond with the person on the other side and show them a way that makes sense to the other person as well.

      Featured photo credit: The Conscious Process via theconsciousprocess.wordpress.com

      Reference

      [1] The Soul Creator: Killer Negotiator: Tap the right emotions

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      Last Updated on February 11, 2021

      Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

      Easily Misunderstood by Others? 6 Barriers You Should Overcome to Make Communication Less Frustrating

      How often have you said something simple, only to have the person who you said this to misunderstand it or twist the meaning completely around? Nodding your head in affirmative? Then this means that you are being unclear in your communication.

      Communication should be simple, right? It’s all about two people or more talking and explaining something to the other. The problem lies in the talking itself, somehow we end up being unclear, and our words, attitude or even the way of talking becomes a barrier in communication, most of the times unknowingly. We give you six common barriers to communication, and how to get past them; for you to actually say what you mean, and or the other person to understand it as well…

      The 6 Walls You Need to Break Down to Make Communication Effective

      Think about it this way, a simple phrase like “what do you mean” can be said in many different ways and each different way would end up “communicating” something else entirely. Scream it at the other person, and the perception would be anger. Whisper this is someone’s ear and others may take it as if you were plotting something. Say it in another language, and no one gets what you mean at all, if they don’t speak it… This is what we mean when we say that talking or saying something that’s clear in your head, many not mean that you have successfully communicated it across to your intended audience – thus what you say and how, where and why you said it – at times become barriers to communication.[1]

      Perceptual Barrier

      The moment you say something in a confrontational, sarcastic, angry or emotional tone, you have set up perceptual barriers to communication. The other person or people to whom you are trying to communicate your point get the message that you are disinterested in what you are saying and sort of turn a deaf ear. In effect, you are yelling your point across to person who might as well be deaf![2]

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      The problem: When you have a tone that’s not particularly positive, a body language that denotes your own disinterest in the situation and let your own stereotypes and misgivings enter the conversation via the way you talk and gesture, the other person perceives what you saying an entirely different manner than say if you said the same while smiling and catching their gaze.

      The solution: Start the conversation on a positive note, and don’t let what you think color your tone, gestures of body language. Maintain eye contact with your audience, and smile openly and wholeheartedly…

      Attitudinal Barrier

      Some people, if you would excuse the language, are simply badass and in general are unable to form relationships or even a common point of communication with others, due to their habit of thinking to highly or too lowly of them. They basically have an attitude problem – since they hold themselves in high esteem, they are unable to form genuine lines of communication with anyone. The same is true if they think too little of themselves as well.[3]

      The problem: If anyone at work, or even in your family, tends to roam around with a superior air – anything they say is likely to be taken by you and the others with a pinch, or even a bag of salt. Simply because whenever they talk, the first thing to come out of it is their condescending attitude. And in case there’s someone with an inferiority complex, their incessant self-pity forms barriers to communication.

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      The solution: Use simple words and an encouraging smile to communicate effectively – and stick to constructive criticism, and not criticism because you are a perfectionist. If you see someone doing a good job, let them know, and disregard the thought that you could have done it better. It’s their job so measure them by industry standards and not your own.

      Language Barrier

      This is perhaps the commonest and the most inadvertent of barriers to communication. Using big words, too much of technical jargon or even using just the wrong language at the incorrect or inopportune time can lead to a loss or misinterpretation of communication. It may have sounded right in your head and to your ears as well, but if sounded gobbledygook to the others, the purpose is lost.

      The problem: Say you are trying to explain a process to the newbies and end up using every technical word and industry jargon that you knew – your communication has failed if the newbie understood zilch. You have to, without sounding patronizing, explain things to someone in the simplest language they understand instead of the most complex that you do.

      The solution: Simplify things for the other person to understand you, and understand it well. Think about it this way: if you are trying to explain something scientific to a child, you tone it down to their thinking capacity, without “dumbing” anything down in the process.[4]

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      Emotional Barrier

      Sometimes, we hesitate in opening our mouths, for fear of putting our foot in it! Other times, our emotional state is so fragile that we keep it and our lips zipped tightly together lest we explode. This is the time that our emotions become barriers to communication.[5]

      The problem: Say you had a fight at home and are on a slow boil, muttering, in your head, about the injustice of it all. At this time, you have to give someone a dressing down over their work performance. You are likely to transfer at least part of your angst to the conversation then, and talk about unfairness in general, leaving the other person stymied about what you actually meant!

      The solution: Remove your emotions and feelings to a personal space, and talk to the other person as you normally would. Treat any phobias or fears that you have and nip them in the bud so that they don’t become a problem. And remember, no one is perfect.

      Cultural Barrier

      Sometimes, being in an ever-shrinking world means that inadvertently, rules can make cultures clash and cultural clashes can turn into barriers to communication. The idea is to make your point across without hurting anyone’s cultural or religious sentiments.

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      The problem: There are so many ways culture clashes can happen during communication and with cultural clashes; it’s not always about ethnicity. A non-smoker may have problems with smokers taking breaks; an older boss may have issues with younger staff using the Internet too much.

      The solution: Communicate only what is necessary to get the point across – and eave your personal sentiments or feelings out of it. Try to be accommodative of the other’s viewpoint, and in case you still need to work it out, do it one to one, to avoid making a spectacle of the other person’s beliefs.[6]

      Gender Barrier

      Finally, it’s about Men from Mars and Women from Venus. Sometimes, men don’t understand women and women don’t get men – and this gender gap throws barriers in communication. Women tend to take conflict to their graves, literally, while men can move on instantly. Women rely on intuition, men on logic – so inherently, gender becomes a big block in successful communication.[7]

      The problem: A male boss may inadvertently rub his female subordinates the wrong way with anti-feminism innuendoes, or even have problems with women taking too many family leaves. Similarly, women sometimes let their emotions get the better of them, something a male audience can’t relate to.

      The solution: Talk to people like people – don’t think or classify them into genders and then talk accordingly. Don’t make comments or innuendos that are gender biased – you don’t have to come across as an MCP or as a bra-burning feminist either. Keep gender out of it.

      And remember, the key to successful communication is simply being open, making eye contact and smiling intermittently. The battle is usually half won when you say what you mean in simple, straightforward words and keep your emotions out of it.

      Reference

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