This blog is primarily based on my book, “Trust”. My first book was called, “The Gift of Silence”. The lack of silence at appropriate times is my subject today. I recently listened to a complaint about a person, and among the many things the complainer said was a statement that told me volumes more than the person meant to convey. The person said, “everyone here thinks this way, too.” When I sought to clarify the statement, the person said, “yes, I have talked to everyone in this __________ , and they all think this way.”
A major problem with the statement: it’s not true. Three things came from the claim that “everyone thinks this way”. One, I happen to know several people who do not agree with the statement. Two, the person had not talked with everyone about that issue. Three, the fact that the claim was made revealed that this person is trying to isolate someone from the group.
This brings me back to the actual problem: too much talk, and likely too much listening to the talk. I only listened to it since it was part of a complaint, and it’s part of my role to hear complaints. But, contrary to the person’s intent, I see the complaint as one from one person. The claim of being a spokesperson for the whole group was totally lost. If the group felt that way, they would not have chosen this person (who was angry at the time) to be the one to reveal it.
The point to be taken away from this is if I had not simply listened to the complaint in its entirety, I would not have learned nearly as much as I did. An angry person will keep talking when there is a few seconds of silence, and fill the void with more information than they likely ever meant to reveal. I can effectively deal with the overall situation since I know what’s really going on.