33 Comments

"Treat silence like a complete word: listen to the beginning, middle, and end of their pause." from how to listen - discover the hidden key to better communication - the most comprehensive book about listening in the workplace

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I want to take this challenge. I'll let you know how it goes.

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I've done a few Vipassana Meditation retreats in my time. They were about 11 days of not only not talking, but also no eye contact, reading, writing, yoga etc. It was pretty tough going, but it really is amazing how subtle our awareness can become when we create the space (or silence) for it.

I need periods of silence every day, or I become much less fun to be around. I feel like without some silence every day Iose myself. So I walk the dogs without headphones and often drive with no music.

Great post.

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Wonderful thought in a world where there seems to be an expectation to always say something. Silence can be golden

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When I lived in Japan I learned to sit with long silences with other people. It wasn’t until then that I realized how uncomfortable I was with long gaps in speaking. I think that in the US we feel rushed to fill a silence, but in Japan there’s less of that. It was a good change for me to learn to be quiet.

Another memory I’ll always treasure is when my son was young and I was giving him a bath. We sat quietly and I noticed the sound of the water rippling against the tub when he wriggled in the bath. It was such a sweet sound.

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"............................______------------------"

Practicing

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Feb 14, 2023Liked by Rob Walker

I once went wilderness solo backpacking for 3 days and never talked to another human being. After 3 days of no conversation, I was ready to talk anyone’s ear off!! I did see a lot of wildlife I think because I was not talking and therefore quiet.

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“you will learn the unimportance of your words and the importance of other people’s words” food for thought, especially for writers

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Mar 7, 2023Liked by Rob Walker

I’m speechless, or at least perhaps I should be..

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WNYC's Only Human had a terrific series a few years back titled "Listen Up!" that you might enjoy. https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/onlyhuman/projects/listen

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Feb 14, 2023Liked by Rob Walker

I believe that listening/noticing is the most important skill required to be a good musician.

It’s not taught to students, unfortunately. I’ve “noticed” that finely tuned listening elevates

a musician from being a good technician to being a good musician.

'

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Yes. Absolutely. Listening is an art form, no question. Most people don’t possess it. Most are thinking about what they’re going to say the second you STFU, or they just interrupt. This is so common that when you meet someone who genuinely does listen actively it feels shocking, almost comic; even bizarre. But it’s delicious.

Michael Mohr

‘Sincere American Writing’

https://michaelmohr.substack.com/

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Feb 14, 2023Liked by Rob Walker

" if speech were of silver, then silence would be of gold. "

Al-Jahiz - ninth century

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Feb 21, 2023Liked by Rob Walker

I LOVE Kate Murphy's book. Thank you for the reminder of what I too often forget... shut up and listen. I learn SO much when I do that!

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Feb 15, 2023Liked by Rob Walker

Thanks so much for the link to the article on swimming. It has made me remember my l own love of

swimming and why it is also so soothing for me.

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Feb 14, 2023Liked by Rob Walker

Happy Valentine's Day!

Go all day without talking!! Seriously? I think I would explode. Just for starters: how I am going to order my morning coffee? (When it comes to Dunkin, Ben Affleck and I could be cousins!). Please, do not suggest I order my coffee on an "app", and we can still be friends.

I think good listening skills are very important and rare. Can definitely lead to romance, as you alluded to in your comment (paraphrasing slightly here) " Shut up and kiss me".

But, listening is not just about shutting up, or listening to the crickets, it is a form of engaging, learning and internalizing.

When I speak with people I listen to them, and eventually they realize I am not interrupting them or judging them. I give them my full attention when they are speaking and they get comfortable and we often have some great conversations.

I liked that term "pause of possibility". That pause establishes that the speaker had a chance to fully express themselves.

I prefer to ask some questions, as opposed to being completely silent. What you say after they pause is critical. If you tie in to what they said in an empathetic and engaged way they will continue to share more with you. When you make the conversation about them and not you, you will be amazed by what happens!

Happy Mardi Gras next week, Rob!!!

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