Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Insert Silences -- Here's Why and How

It's an old family joke that I'm a babbling Brooke.  I've got a lot of words when I teach!  I have so many ideas!  I have so much I want to share!  I'm able to fill every split-second of silence!

For years I've been working hard at teaching less material, and teaching it well.

More recently I've begun working on intentionally inserting moments of silence around key points.  I want people to have space and time to allow important truths to sink in.  I want to give people time to chew and swallow.

(How am I doing?  Terribly, if you must know.  But I'm working at it, and I am confident God can help me get better at this.)

How can you do this?

The first step is to pray that you would operate under the power of the Holy Spirit.  ("Apart from me, you can do nothing.")

I plan ahead to where my key points are -- where I want to insert some silence.  Then I plan for two breaths, which works out to be about 10-12 seconds.  It feels about right.  I try to make eye contact with a few people across the room.

Very important: know what you're going to say next before you have the silent moment.  It's not nearly as effective if you're staring at your notes or shuffling pages in your Bible or handouts.  You want to be still and silent yourself.

I've noticed that my students are quick to jump into silent spaces with their own words.  It helps if you gesture as a signal for silence (perhaps holding up a finger or your hand -- this will vary across cultures) and say, "Think about that for a moment."

Try this -- you'll see the power of God at work.  Let me know if you have other tactics to help make this silence effective.

1 comment:

StartingYourBusinessTodayAdvisor said...

Insertion of silence. I like that.

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