“Silence is a lesson learned from the many sufferings of life.”SENECA, THYESTES, 309
Talking a lot is what inexperienced and insecure people do.
It shows a desire to fit in, a desire for acceptance and validation.
The truly wise? They know how to sit back and observe. They don’t feel compelled to always chime in. They spend more time listening.
Listening is how you learn and grow. Listening builds relationships. But you can’t listen if you’re always talking. You have to stop talking and be silent in order gain insight and knowledge that you’d otherwise miss.
Silence in the office
Imagine you’re sitting in a business meeting, at the office (or on Zoom). Lots of people talking, sometimes talking over each other. Sharing ideas, discussing, debating, hammering points home and agreeing or disagreeing with each other.
The one person whose opinion matters most, and who is most respected — what is she doing? She’s silently listening. Gathering information, digesting viewpoints, learning about options. She doesn’t feel compelled to share her opinion, at least not until she’s done sitting in silence and collecting all the facts.
Then finally when she does speak, all others go silent in deference. She has demonstrated that wisdom that comes only from listening silently.
I implemented this myself, at my office. I realized that listening was key, and that being silent in a meeting would give the right impression to others that I was being very thoughtful and considered with my words. I forced myself to stay silent in meetings (it was hard!) and only spoke at the end, when someone asked what I thought.
Everyone went silent and I had the floor to myself, and my opinion was given that much more weight. It lent an air of gravitas to what I was saying, which would have been impossible if I hadn’t stayed… silent.