Saturday, October 3, 2009

Value of Silence

In case you might have guessed, this week, there was a theme to my posts. It was (drum roll please) - Communication. Whether or not it was in meetings, in person, via newsletters or other formats, communication is key not only to business, but our success in life.

“We cannot ‘not’ communicate. We do it by our presence and by our absence, by our silences as well as our words, by our choices, gestures and attitudes. We may not always do it well, but we always do it.” - anonymous (or was it Paul Watzlawick's?) It is also estimated that in-person communication: 7% of understanding comes from the words themselves, 38% by tonality and the remaining 55% in body language and non-verbals. I wonder how that would breakdown in the worlds of Twitter, texting and blogging? It seems that we have an amazing versimmilitude in much of our written word, but do we deceive ourselves? Is our writing more transparent than we think? I am not sure, but I know I make an effort to be clear and honest in all that I write. It makes it easier to recall!

Along these lines, is the issue of silence. Silence is a powerful tool to communicate reflection, displeasure or simply a recognition of an issue too complex, meaningful or emotional for a quick response. Silence also is an effective way to show you are listening to the other person. I felt that I should be silent for a day on Twitter and in some other areas of my life and business to allow others to contribute or even note my absence. How do you use silence in your life or business?

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