Martin Messier

December 8, 2023

Listening to the unsaid

When someone is talking to us, it's not just the words they utter but also the silence between them that speaks volumes. Many times, when we're listening to a story, and we're captivated by its details and the emotions they evoke, it's the unsaid, the deletions, that carry the essence of the narrative.

I've often seen how the parts of our stories we choose to leave out can sometimes tell more than what we actually say. These deletions are not mere gaps; they are windows into our deeper truths, our unvoiced fears, and our hidden desires. When we communicate, we're not just conveying information; we're also revealing how we see the world, what we consider important, and what we deem unworthy of mention.

As NLP Practitioners, we pay close attention to these deletions. They are clues, guiding us to understand the person's model of the world. Every time they speak, their language is filtered through their experiences, beliefs, and values. What they keep out of their stories is often as significant as what they include. These deletions offer insights into their internal representations, showcasing their subjective reality.

For example, when someone describes a challenging situation without mentioning their emotions, it might indicate a disconnection from their feelings, or perhaps a reluctance to appear vulnerable, or it could suggest something entirely different. Our job is to gently guide them to explore these deletions, to bring into awareness what has been left unsaid. This goal is not to fill that silence with noise; it's about honoring the unsaid and understanding its significance.

As you incorporate NLP principles in your communication, I encourage you to listen not just to the words but also to the silences. In those gaps lies wisdom, waiting to be discovered. It's often in the unsaid that we find the keys to unlocking potential.

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