Do you learn more by talking or listening?

Hmmm …

Not exactly a brain teaser. But it’s an important question, given that, as a lawyer, you often have a relatively small amount of time to learn what’s going on with a client and really home in on what that client wants and needs.

I think it’s safe to say you learn more by asking the right questions and then staying quiet and listening.
And yet, we all do it, no matter what walk of life we come from. We jump to conclusions. We start formulating a response and coming up with answers before the other person has made it halfway through her second sentence.

Time for me to talk!

You have to train that reflex out of yourself if you’re going to be effective as a lawyer. And the same goes for everyone else, from parents to executives, professors, to policemen.
There’s a time to talk … to talk it out … to talk it through … to get to the bottom of things … to make yourself clear … to present solutions … to paint a picture … to teach … to encourage.

And there’s a time to be silent.

Modern culture doesn’t value silence very highly … as in, it doesn’t value it at all.

I do.

Silence creates space … space to breathe, relax, and get centered amid all the chatter and rushing about … space for ideas to germinate … space for those who are quiet to speak … space for listeners to truly grasp what they’re hearing and appreciate it fully … space to receive knowledge and consider other points of view vs. always restating what you know and projecting your own thoughts.
Silence is the emptiness where less becomes more.

It creates an opening … like a blank canvas … an opening for something new, something fresh, something spontaneous and unplanned to occur.

And if you’re in the business of making positive change of any kind happen, of working your clients towards win-win solutions, you want to encourage new and fresh ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.

That’s where breakthroughs come from.

I think I might understand why we shun silence.

It’s hard to value the nothingness of silence when there’s so much to say. It’s hard to conceive of emptiness as just what you need.

But it is.

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