Silent Talking is not Listening

Cute black and white border collie thinking about balls in a thought bubbles above her head

Silent Talking – is not LISTENING

I was reading the “Art of Negotiation” by Dr. Henry Cloud and the term just caught me. How often do I silent talk? Gerard I. Nierenberg and Henry H. Calero describe it on page 52’ “It’s what so many of us are doing when we think we’re listening. Unconsciously, we are mentally speaking while appearing to be listening.” We are formulating what we are going to say next; we are thinking about our awesome comeback, we are screaming at them about how stupid that idea is…

It goes to the heart of being present in the situation. How can you be fully present in the moment when you are talking to yourself? That is everything short of being connected and present.

Three steps to stop the Silent Talking

  • Focus – Do an exercise before important meetings to clear your mind of the clutter
    1. Make a list
    2. Delegate
    3. Schedule your next steps
    4. Journal
    5. Miscellaneous other options
  • Take Notes – (Not your To-do list for later)
    1. Note the key points of what they are saying
    2. Make eye contact and confirm that you are engaged in what they are saying
    3. Review your notes and ask questions to clarify
  • Limit – know your listening limit and don’t be a “right fighter”
    1. Test and time yourself to know how long you can focus and listen. You might have to ask a person to pause their thought, because you are overloaded and silent talking.
    2. Good listening is not fighting to be right or the last one standing aka “right fighting”. Engaged listening is trying to understand another person’s point of view.

Ban the silent talking at your next meeting and see how it feels. You might like it.

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