The Japanese have a concept called ‘ma,’ which is described as a space, pause, or interval between. These gaps allow something to emerge, like how the silence between notes creates music.

Similarly, “conversation silence” enables us to be with another person, allowing more possibilities to arise rather than saying or doing something.

Notice when you need to self-regulate.

Your tone, mannerisms, and approach to communication mimic your inner state, which others can easily pick up on. The more you witness and appreciate your system—what’s occurring and why you’re triggered—you can catch yourself and calm your nervous system before responding.

For example, when you are compelled to prove a point and keep pushing on an issue. Or before potentially stating the opposite of what you intended to close down the discussion, such as asserting “Yes, no problem” versus “Actually, I’d prefer X.”

Welcome quietness to your dialogues.

Providing a non-judgmental space for others to speak up to be seen and heard is a powerful way to foster connection. If you love to talk, you can recognize that you need a break when you’re out of breath. Additionally, you can ask questions or suggest that someone else share their views, especially in a team setting where people raise their hands or unmute their speaker.

Here are five ways that embracing silence can further benefit you and your interpersonal relationships:

Hearing what’s not being said.

Assessing and being aware of what’s happening around you helps you discern the current vibe and how best to interact with others. When present—in mind, body, and heart—you can actively listen and cultivate a shared purpose with others. By leading the discussion as a dialogue, you demonstrate that you’re interested in the other person and not just focused on your goals and what’s important to you.

Processing what has been shared.

Listening with positive intention and giving others time to think and speak, allows you to hear the other person and adapt to what’s been said. Acknowledging and confirming what you heard creates a moment where both parties have learned more about one another. These shared discoveries—no matter how short or long—cultivate acceptance and strengthen relationships.

Demonstrating that you’re open to other perspectives.

Inviting other people to voice their thoughts encourages dialogue and inclusion. What you say—and don’t say—makes a difference. Your words, actions, and behaviors convey what’s important to you. By remaining objective and assessing your motivation, i.e., whether you are pushing to win or too attached to your idea, you can express yourself more evenly and deeply, fostering trust.

Assessing how you are in the moment.

Your mind and body are interconnected and automatically impacted by each other. Because your system is dynamic and responsive to what is happening in and around you, how you’re feeling is constantly changing. Self-regulation is about managing your emotions, behaviors, and responses. With an intentional pause, you can take a breath and reflect on what’s most important.

Recalibrating and strategizing before replying.

When you know how you feel, you can manage your thoughts and emotions—regarding what you want, don’t want, and why—enabling you to be more compassionate, direct, and honest in what you say. Asking questions or offering a compromise can bolster camaraderie. Additionally, accessing your highest expression and choosing words that amplify your voice can help evoke excitement toward your mission.

Bolster your communication approach through awareness and understanding.

To articulate your message and boost relevancy, prepare your key points. Also, you can use various assessments to learn more about your and others’ communication preferences and styles to adapt as needed. If you’re looking for a partner to guide you, my approach is personalized and customized to meet you where you’re at in your journey. I’d be delighted to speak with you.

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