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Chris Parker – Space, Silence & Questions – And Their Importance In Communication & Education (#75)

How to be a better communicator using space, silence and questions.

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Chris Parker - Space, Silence & Questions - And Their Importance In Communication And Education (#75) | The Black Country Buddhas Podcast | My Home Vitality

Introduction to guest:

Chris Parker is a highly experienced academic, teacher, trainer, career coach and hypnotherapist, as well as being a novelist, poet, biographer, nonfiction writer, martial artist and has spent over four decades studying communication and influence.

He’s also been practising meditation since 1976.

For more on Chris, listen to our first two podcasts with him here: podcast #49 and podcast #60. In those we talk about meditation, martial arts, writing, creativity, learning, communication, influence and persuasion.

Enjoy the show and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel to join the live discussions!

More from Chris:

Chris’s work: Chris Parker

Key quotes and takeaways from the show:

Silence is not the absence of sound, it is the essential home, ground or canvas to which sound is based upon. Space is not an absence of something, it is the home of things. Without space there wouldn’t be things.

Space and silence were here first. they always exists – before, during and after.

“We can hear silence even when there is noise.”

“Reality exists in the space between two people.”

Silence of the mouth. Silence of the mind. Silence of everything (that is beyond our conscious control).

“Active listening is the pre-eminent skill of good communication.”

“My meditative practice underpins my communication work.”

See people as if for the first time. Be quiet enough inside to eradicate your perception filters.

To actually give respect, we need to listen and look.

Look over people’s shoulders to get into a deep state of awareness.

Using silence for education and communication:

  • To emphasise a point (silence before and after).
  • To demonstrate confidence and authority (Chris’ example on stage). “I don’t need to make noise to hide behind.”
  • To influence the emotional state of others (comfort or pressure based on circumstance).
  • To give people time to ask the right questions.

You don’t have to answer quickly in all situations. You can take time to think. You don’t have to know everything. Be comfortable not knowing.

“In the space that comes from not knowing, curiosity can grow.”

“It starts before it starts and it ends after it ends.”

Getting into the right state means managing emotions.

An absolute clarity of purpose helps to quieten the mind.

Build off strengths!

Communication is an interactive feedback loop.

Try reading the words without thinking about them.

Elements of questioning:

  1. Meta questions.
  2. Asking Questions.
  3. Encouraging/Receiving questions.
  4. Responding to questions.

Time management of questions is crucial: framing, giving people time to think (and prepare emotionally), not too early, not too late, etc.

Always question assumptions.

“Well packaged honesty.”

“Students need to learn how to learn, to be independent of me.”

“Your conscious mind can only hold 7 (+/- 2) bits of information.”

“Listen to silence and look at the space.”

Look over people’s shoulders.

“I don’t have all the space in the world, I have all the space in the Universe. It isn’t that we have enough space in which to grow, I can move in any direction, I have space, mentally, emotionally, physically, etc. Our great gifts are space and silence. Many of us don’t fear that we haven’t got the space in which to grow, it’s that we’ve got so much space. The challenge is, dare we go?”

Pick the direction in which you wish to go into space.

Question of the day:

“How do you use silence and space in your teaching and educating of others?”

Links to podcast sites:

Listen on Audible
Listen on iTunes
Listen on Spotify
Listen on Stitcher
Listen on Overcast

The full podcast:

Related episode:

Here are the last two episodes we recorded with Chris, in which we talk about meditation, martial arts, writing, creativity, learning, communication, influence and persuasion…

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Show notes:

  • 00:00:00 – Coming up.
  • 00:00:58 – Overall show introduction.
  • 00:01:54 – Finding your purpose, happiness and success in life – mhvpath.com.
  • 00:03:19 – Introduction to today’s show.
  • 00:04:59 – Chris is getting old!
  • 00:06:54 – The importance of space and silence.
  • 00:18:10 – 3 types of silence.
  • 00:25:54 – Seeing space.
  • 00:29:37 – Using silence for education and communication.
  • 00:46:04 – Practices for getting in the right state and quieting the mind.
  • 00:58:58 – Using films and books to learn about space and silence.
  • 01:07:24 – The importance of sound.
  • 01:15:46 – Types of questions, how to use questions and how to ask good questions.
  • 01:42:31 – The importance of questioning assumptions.
  • 01:46:04 – Silat Fitrah online and building an online martial arts community.
  • 02:01:12 – Tips for online communication and education.
  • 02:10:09 – Chris’ final thoughts and message on space, silence and questions.
  • 02:14:16 – Where to find Chris, what he’s doing now and his future challenges.
  • 02:20:30 – Where to find more, next week’s guest and mhvpath.com.
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