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2. Create an actionable plan

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The Power of Silence: Becoming a Better Listener

What do you think is the most powerful force in the universe? 

Some believe it's love. Others might say words. NASA claims it's gravity...they have a point. 

I believe it is silence.

When we are silent, we tune out the internal chatter and deeply hear other's wants, needs, and frustrations. Through silence, we help others in powerful ways.

  • How often do you get into arguments with your partner?

  • Would things be different if you could truly understand your child's struggles?

  • Do people say you interrupt conversations?

Becoming a better listener is a skill that you can practice and improve. In this article, I'll teach you how to use the most powerful force in the universe to become a better listener.

Ready to uncover the most powerful force in the universe?

Let’s dive in.  

Silence is one of the great arts of conversation. -Cicero
Silence is one of the great arts of conversation. -Cicero

The Impact of Deep Listening

A friend called me, raving about Yellowstone National Park. Then he said something unexpected: 

"You know who's a good dude? Shawn. He is the best listener I've ever talked to. This guy didn't just hear what I said; he listened for the meaning behind every word."

This struck me.

My friend felt valued and understood. So much so, that he didn't even mention the two black bears we encountered on a trail!

Imagine how your relationships would improve if you could listen as well as Shawn. 

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Silence: The Most Powerful Force in the Universe

Silence is the most powerful force in the universe. 

What someone needs or wants is found within their frustration, not their words. When we use silence, we discover the root of their frustration. Then, we can help. 

For example, my friend's partner was upset because he was working late. In reality, she wasn't upset about the long hours. During an argument, he remained silent, letting her vent, listening. 

Then he understood. She was upset because they weren’t spending time together. So, they decided to schedule two date nights per month. He still works late, but his partner no longer feels lonely. 

When someone is sharing a frustration, practice silence. You’ll be shocked how often people are not done talking.

That pause allows both of you time to collect your thoughts and process. It is in these silent moments that our most powerful support is felt.

5 Ways to Become a Better Listener

A powerful listener doesn't just hear words; they understand the meaning behind them. Here are 5 ways to become a better listener.

Listening strategy one: Monitor Your Judgments:

Stay aware of your thoughts. Avoid jumping to conclusions or forming judgments while the other person is speaking. Turn off your mind, avoid judgment, and just deeply hear their words from their point of view.

Listening strategy two: Reflect Their Words:

Paraphrase what the speaker said to show you understand. This validates their feelings and clarifies misunderstandings.

“What I’m hearing you say is [thing]. Is that correct?”

“You’re feeling frustrated because…”

Listening strategy three: Be Silent:

Embrace silence. Don’t rush to fill pauses. Be patient. Let the speaker gather their thoughts and express themselves fully. It might feel uncomfortable at first, but that's okay. Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Listening strategy four: Track Their Expressions:

Pay attention to non-verbal cues. Facial expressions, gestures, and tone of voice often convey more than words.

Listening strategy five: Ask This Question: “Do you need me to listen or help?”

This simple question lets you understand what the speaker needs.

Overcoming the Struggle with Silence

Do you struggle to stay silent during conversations? It might be a challenge of impulse control, an executive function skill. There are ways to learn to control impulses.

Practice mindfulness: Focus on being present in the moment. Concentrate on the speaker's words, tone, and body language, rather than planning your response.

Count to five in your mind before speaking: This gives them a chance to add and helps you process what they've said.

Reflect Post-Conversation: After conversations, reflect on your listening behavior. Consider what worked well and what you can improve for next time. Over time, staying silent will become easier.


Silence holds immense power. Next time you find yourself in a conversation, remember these tips: 

  • Monitor your judgements 

  • Reflect their words

  • Be silent 

  • Track their expressions 

  • Do you need me to listen or help?

By mastering the art of silence, we become better listeners. We build stronger, more meaningful relationships.

Are you ready to improve your executive function skills?

We know adulting is HARD. It demands strong adult executive function skills. Luckily, we've made a LIVE course to cover the fundamentals so you can make the best of each day: Adult EF Skills 101. We are currently accepting applications!

In this course, you will:

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  • Learn to get started (task initiate) 🔨

  • Learn how to keep things tidy 🧺

  • Learn how to find and keep a job 👩‍💻

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About the Author

Eric Kaufmann, M.Ed is a Professional Educational Therapist and Certified Executive Function Coach. He is the Co-founder of UpSkill Specialists, an online adult executive function coaching company designed to guide adults in overcoming disorganization, procrastination, and productivity roadblocks so they can unlock their potential. Eric is also the founder of Elevate Learning Solutions, an Educational Therapy practice located in San Clemente, CA, that guides students with neurological differences toward becoming independent and confident students and self-leaders.

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Upskill Specialists was founded when two former special education teachers turned executive function coaches decided that adults need tools and coaching to improve their workplace skills and feel confident and empowered. Our mission is to ensure every adult with EF challenges has access to high-quality coaching services. 

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