Fellow Speaker,

When you speak remember this: SILENCE is GOLDEN.

On Remembrance Sunday I attended Newlands South Church in my home town of Glasgow. The minister, Rev. John D Whiteford, conducted the morning service. In addressing the boys and girls of the Scouts and Brownies he explained why we wear a poppy in our lapel for Armistice Day. He told them we observe two minutes of silence and that in the silence we hear so much more than we do in the daily noise of life and thunder of war. He paused for effect giving me (and the congregation) a few seconds to question why this was the case. And in the silence I could hear my own mind working. I was aware of my feelings – the sadness, the anger, the utter waste of life and the fact it was still happening years after “the war to end all wars.” And as a public speaker I was thankful to the Rev. John D Whiteford for his deliberate pause, for reminding me in a very personal way that SILENCE is GOLDEN.

Bobby Livingston
The Speakers College


1 Comment

Filed under public speaking

One response to “SILENCE is GOLDEN

  1. Thanks for your post, Bob.

    I can see that silence is powerful in public speaking. And your post reminds me that it’s also useful in other contexts too – for example in coaching, where it’s important sometimes to let people think and feel in their own space, without needing to rush in to fill the “awkward” silence. In fact, so often, the awkwardness is our own, and if we ride it out, we can, as you say, hear so much more in our silences.

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