Timing it Perfectly: When to Speak & When to be Silent

Timing it Perfectly: When to Speak & When to be Silent

Wise men have often spoken about it but only a few of us know how to do it. I am talking about timing your speech and silence. We are all guilty of being silent or speaking too much at the wrong time. The art of listening is as lost as the art of speaking at the right time.

We Can Be Wise Men Too, With Some Practice

Most of us choose to think hard before speaking only when the situation is a bit tensed. Even then, the emphasis is on thinking about what we should say rather than when to say. I too have struggled hard to get this right. Even now, I cannot boast about always timing my silence or speech right. However, I am getting better with every passing week. The process has been slow because speaking or being quiet is often involuntary. I urge you to read the following:

How To Break The Silence Like A Wise Man

Speaking just for the sake of breaking the silence isn’t a bad idea. However, don’t try to make idle chatter. Don’t bring up a topic that is lame or too general. It is better to make an interesting observation. This might encourage others to present an opinion and get the conversation started.

When Can Silence Be Your Ally

Situations that involve heated arguments with your friends, spouse, or team members at work need a blend of listening and speaking. When the environment is not too conducive for giving your opinion, try to stay silent. Wait your turn. Don’t be the person in the group who doesn’t give others a chance to talk. Let the other people talk and then claim your chance. This ensures that you respond without being emotionally overwhelmed. These extra few seconds can provide you a better perspective on the entire issue. In silent mode, you might identify loopholes in the opinion of others. This helps to make a more impactful argument when you speak.

How to be silent and not look out-of-place?

A truly wise man knows when not to speak without making his silence too obvious. It is possible that you actually have nothing to say during a meeting. Thoughts might totally abandon your mind for a moment. However, looks can often be deceiving. Your silence can be misinterpreted as being smug or uninterested. To ensure that you don’t create a bad impression, make sure you at least nod your head in agreement or acknowledgment.

When is silence the only option?

This is the most fundamental example about the art of listening. Some occasions are such that your silence does more good than harm. For instance, your friend might be sharing an intimate feeling with you like the grief of losing her parents. This is not the time to interrupt her. The consolation is better expressed by leaving it unsaid. During such moments, the speaker needs to vent certain feelings. Here, being a patient listener is the key. You might have the urge to say something that can placate her. Try to resist this until there is a long pause or when she actually stops talking.

When is speaking the better choice?

You should take the initiative to speak when:

  • Someone expects you to emote and be compassionate.
  • You want to express your feelings and the moment seems just about perfect.
  • You feel that certain emotions have been suffocating your mind—it is better to express them and calm your mind.
  • When it is obvious that you are at fault—take the first chance to apologize.
  • It seems like the right time to express your opinion—don’t hold back and claim the moment.

When being silent is the wiser choice

Our mind often plays tricks, leading to unusual feelings or disturbing thoughts. This happens even when we are at work or having a dinner with our family. Though sharing your thoughts is usually the better option, contemplate a bit. Here, silence is the more prudent choice. Thoughts about appearance or dressing sense of others are sometimes better not expressed. Similarly, not sharing what others have confided in you is perhaps the best example of silence being the right choice.