Silence That Speaks Louder Than Words

In television dead air (the absence of video and audio) is to be avoided at all costs. At WHTN, we have a silence alarm that monitors our television signal. If we go just a couple of seconds without audio the silence alarm calls me  to let me know that WHTN is experiencing technical difficulties. Let’s just say that in television, silence isn’t golden.

Silence isn’t always golden in conversations either. I can recall many conversations in which I’ve scrambled for words, because the silence was making me uncomfortable. As a television host, one of my earliest fears was that silence would take over because I couldn’t think of what to say next. Thankfully, my fear was never realized,  but silence has taught me a valuable lesson on more than one occasion.

The Conversation Goes Quiet

Sometimes silence is an opportunity to hear someone’s heart. In those moments where the conversation goes quiet, there is a silence that speaks louder than words.

Like Lorraine Whoberry, a mom who shared her story on Bridges. Tragically, her oldest daughter was murdered, and her youngest daughter was assaulted and left for dead. As she shared her grief and untold sorrow there was a long moment where no words spoken. Even though this conversation was being filmed, this was a moment when silence spoke louder than words.

It would have been rude to utter a word in the presence of such grief. There was no question or comment that would have added value or understanding. Instead, silence spoke the language all its’ own. In this instance, silence uttered compassion, love, and sorrow without the necessity of mere words.

You May Be Missing Out

In our quest to keep the conversation going and avoid the discomfort of silence, we may be missing out on authentic opportunities to connect with others. Maybe running out of things to say may not be so bad after all. Perhaps the silence gives us the time we need to hear another human being’s heart.

Silence gives us the opportunity to pause, reflect and listen. While words are essential to conversation, they can also be unnecessary. After 25 years in the studio, I no longer worry that that I will be at a loss for words. Instead, I am careful to listen. I welcome the pause the silence, the reflection, because they are the key to human connection.

Vulnerable and Authentic

Relationships are not forged by the exchange of information. Relationships are cultivated by vulnerable and authentic communication. Of course, words are welcome and necessary. 

Today’s Secret from the Studio: There is a Silence that Speaks Louder than Words

Monica Schmelter is the General Manager of WHTN, Christian Television Network and host of daily television show Bridges. You can watch Bridges on demand at Her podcast is available now on iTunes.

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