There are types of silence that hinder restorative dialogue and there is a type that helps. In her book Fierce Conversations, Susan Scott describes the type that helps as “The silence I recommend is the restful kind, the kind that invites us to hear the quieter voices, the kind that allows us to hear the grass grow and the birds sing.”

In short, the inner stillness that helps us listen to ourselves and others.

Susan Scott also describes when we need to be silent and still.

Here are signs that indicate silence is needed. No doubt you have observed these in others, and perhaps you are guilty of some of them yourself.

  • Interrupting by talking over someone else
  • Formulating your own response while someone is talking
  • Responding quickly with little or no thought
  • Attempting to be clever, competent, impressive, charming, and so on
  • Jumping in with advice before an issue has been clarified
  • Using a silence or break in the conversation to create a distraction by changing topics
  • Talking in circles, nothing new emerging
  • Monopolizing the airspace