Last Sunday evening my daughter and I went to the Opera House to watch Spartacus, Katchaturian’s famous ballet. Towards the end of the first Act, Spartacus and Flavia, his wife, bid farewell to each other in a powerful and emotional scene, like in many ballets.
However, this farewell was different. There was silence, dead silence. The orchestra stopped playing and the audience dove into total and complete stillness. The only sounds we could hear were the dancer’s ballet shoes softly brushing the floor and the couple’s heavy breathing. The calmness must have lasted a minute but it seemed much longer. At first, this silence felt awkward but as it amplified this dramatic farewell, it allowed the audience to process what they were seeing, hearing and feeling.
Silence is a powerful and effective communication tool that can be used both at work and at home, when the timing is right. It does take some courage to use silence and it’s not always easy to do. It feels like stepping out of one’s comfort zone.
In a world where speed seems to be a dominating factor and information is given and received to us by the touch of a finger, the idea of slowing down can be challenging. Whether you are asking a question to a colleague, want to make an impact in a speech or confront your partner with an issue, allow 15 seconds of silence and notice the impact it has on them and on you.
(c) 2017 Anna Jankovich, all rights reserved.