INactive Listening: Strategic Silence

Strategic Silence

I am going to make a bold statement:  we are dramatically underutilizing one of the most valuable tools for communicating with others:  silence.  The occasional use of quiet in a conversation allows for thought and reflection and can increase the positive effects of talk.  Yet silence is avoided, even feared, in dialogue.  Rather than allow for quiet thought, conversations race from topic to topic as if the shear quantity of words equates to quality of communication.

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Exploring Negative Space

Chair missing legs

Some time ago, I was immersed in a drawing class as a way to improve my paintings.  One night, the teacher placed a chair up on the table and instructed us to draw it.  The twist on this assignment was that we were to draw the chair, not by rendering its back, legs, and so on, but by drawing the various spaces between its parts.  I put pen to paper and limned the space between the legs, top, and bottom.  When I finished, I backed up and saw that I had miraculously drawn the chair, not by showing what was there, but by seeing what was not there.  This was my first experience drawing what artists call “negative space.” (more…)

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