Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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!”

    Advertising

    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.

    Advertising

    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

      More by this author

      Silence Can Solve Problems That Words Cannot Motivate ourselves Motivate Yourself: Three Tricks to Kick Your Own Ass 4 Steps to Learn from your Mistakes 8 Killer Negotiation Tricks Clients Don’t Want You To Know Killer Negotiator 101 – Framing a Killer Sales Pitch

      Trending in Communication

      1 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way 2 How to Break Free From Negative Thinking for Good 3 15 Simple Things You Can Do to Boost Your Daily Motivation 4 How to Say No When You Know You Say Yes Too Often 5 Feeling Super Stressed? Do This Daily Routine Every Day

      Read Next

      Advertising
      Advertising
      Advertising

      Last Updated on September 18, 2020

      13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      “We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

      “It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

      Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

      You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

      Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

      1. Take a step back and evaluate

      When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

      1. What is the problem?
      2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
      3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
      4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
      5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

      Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

      Advertising

      2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

      If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

      At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

      Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

      3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

      Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

      4. Process your thoughts/emotions

      Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

      1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
      2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
      3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
      4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

      5. Acknowledge your thoughts

      Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

      By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

      Advertising

      Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

      6. Give yourself a break

      If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

      7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

      A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

      Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

      After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

      8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

      As Helen Keller once said,

      “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

      Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

      9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

      In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

      1. What’s the situation?
      2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
      3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
      4. Take action on your next steps!

      After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

      10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

      A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

      Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

      For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

      11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

      No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

      Advertising

      12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

      No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

      13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

      There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

      After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

      Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

      Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

      Read Next