Posted by: Paul | March 2, 2008

Leaning into Silence

t_giraffe_stretch-sxchu-879539_75081332_c_nicolas_raymond.jpgAt a recent workshop I was giving a demo of Supportive Listening. Granted it wasn’t a totally natural scenario, with a crowd of on-lookers, but it was close enough.

I let her carry through the momentum of her first thoughts, and I didn’t interrupt. There were places where I could have jumped in, but I chose not to. So far so good.

Then as that initial momentum started to dissipate, I was tempted to jump in and fill the silence. I had a sense there was more, though. So I waited. It was a little more uncomfortable.

And then she seemed to have stopped. And I waited a little more. This was even more uncomfortable. And she talked a bit more and then stopped.

After a good deep breath, I shared with her a brief piece of “what I’d got” from what she’d said, and she picked up on it and further developed that thinking.

By leaning into the silence, and only talking when I really thought it was needed to help the speaker pick up again, she relaxed and came up with some creative ideas for her challenge.

To a casual observer, it might appear that I’d done “nothing.” But I knew better. :)

Paul.

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