What if you couldn’t talk for a day. No sounds out of your mouth; no verbal interaction; no words to communicate. What if you decided not to say a word all day long. Could you do it? Could you still exchange ideas with others? How would you communicate with others? Would you be ignored altogether? Or would you arise to the occasion and figure out a way to interact to make your silent voice heard even though you couldn’t speak? Would you be driven to the brink of insanity, or would you find it challenging, a time to rethink how you interact and what is important when you interact with others?
1. A smile is worth a thousand words. Actually a picture is worth a thousand words. But if you don’t have a picture to show, a smile is the next best thing.
2. Hand gestures make a difference. Slow movements that are welcoming and open up to others are important. Don’t make quick or jerky hand gestures. Hand gestures should accent what is being said when you are talking again. Make some hand gestures in front of the mirror. See how they appear to you.
3. How do you stand move and carry yourself? Stand up straight, don’t slouch forward. You don’t need to be rigid. Just stand straight and move with purpose.
4. How do you sit? Are your legs crossed and are you slouched back in your chair? Or are both feet on the floor and back straight? Where are your hands, holding up your head, or are they on the table in front of you or folded on your lap?
5. How do you listen? Do you focus on the person’s mouth and eyes? Or do you draw your focus back from time to time to catch a person’s body movement to get their entire body language and message it provides?
6. How do you participate in a meeting? Do you stay attentive? Are you aware of all the people at the meeting? It is important to focus on the person who is talking. But, you need to take in the entire group at the meeting to understand how people are reacting to the meeting as it develops and to each speaker as they talk.
7. How do you focus? It shouldn’t be about you lost in thought. It should be about your perceptions of what is happening around you. When you aren’t the focal point, the one who is doing the talking, you have the ability to take in more of what is going on around you. Use that to your advantage and try to soak up everything going on around you: what is said, who is talking, and how people are interacting with one another.
Were you successful in not talking for a day? How did your perception of the world around you change when you weren’t talking? Will you deal with your world and those people in it differently from now on? As Mark Twain said, “The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.”