Listen to the Silence

“Silence is as deep as eternity, speech as shallow as time.” —Thomas Carlyle


We’re always being taught the importance of listening to what others have to say. Well, I have another suggestion to add; listen to the silence. There can be as much gleaned from what is not being said as in what is being said. Can you listen and learn?

Eliminate distractions

We run into distractions at every turn. There is no way to even experience the silence unless we can eliminate these distractions temporarily. When we are able to focus on the present moment, we might notice silence where we would hope to hear communication, we might see avoidance where we should see engagement.

What are you missing?

With all the noise surrounding us on a daily basis, what are we missing? Noise, in and of its self, can be a distraction. Who are we not seeing or hearing from? What information is being withheld? Recognizing what we are missing can be far more important than what we know.

See clearly

Listening to the silence helps us to see clearly. Are things running as smoothly as we think they are when we are preoccupied with all the noise? We know what we can hear being said, but what is missing? One of the most important skills in leadership is the ability to see clearly; we cannot address what we do not see.


When it is quiet, we can be present in the moment, and in that moment we can recognize what we are missing. Take time to eliminate the distractions. Become aware of what are you missing. Listen in order to see what is happening in your organization more clearly, with your people, and to your culture. Embrace the silence and learn.



© 2017 Elizabeth Stincelli


Liz Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the Founder of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations change attitudes, change communication dynamics, improve collaboration and problem-solving, engage employees, and strengthen organizational culture. Liz holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.

Learn more about Liz by visiting her website, and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at