Richard Brooks' HR blog

Updates from the Director of Human Resources

Silence

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Poetry isn't about the words, its about the spaces between the words. This was an observation by my wife. It reflects the power of silence - either creating spaces to think or to allow others to contribute.

Ernest Hemingway is reputed to have once written a story in six words. "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn". I enjoy a bloated airport paperback as much as many other people, but which creates the most powerful, enduring images? Which inspires creativity?

When I was involved in multi-national Governmental meetings in Europe each nation took its turn to speak. I was taught, very early on, that sometimes remaining silent was a good tactic. It encouraged others to fill the vacuum, and perhaps more progress would be made. Its a great approach in negotiations as well. Remaining silent can give the other party time to extend their ideas, and develop that sweet spot where both sides are able to agree.

Much of the training offered to me in my career has been about how to make an impact. When best to intervene in meetings. How to do an effective presentation. But I don't remember any training about creating spaces; silence; listening. As our world becomes more infested with infotainment, and we are encouraged to fill every waking hour with consuming information, perhaps we are losing something by crowding out the spaces and ignoring the power of silence.

Try it. Its ok to daydream.

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