JoAnna Bennett

JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group

25 April 2018

Have you ever participated in a conversation with a rambler? You know the lady – Becky Babbles – who can go from one topic to another without allowing others in the circle to speak. At times she poses valid theories and ideas. Sometimes she spews pure nonsense. But you can’t process or give any of her ideas valid consideration due to the sheer volume of stuff being thrown at you. While she continues, you may find yourself trying to make eye contact with others to share your unpleasant feelings with a smirk or some other facial expression.

Becky must have missed the memo on the value of silence. Or perhaps she has gotten into the habit of talking so much it has become hard to break. Whatever the underlying reason, ramblers are troublesome to handle. But they teach us an important lesson.


Being a mother of two, the proverbial saying Silence is Golden rings true. Around 8:30 p.m., when both of my tiny people are snuggled in their beds, I find myself sitting on the couch enjoying that blissful sound of silence. I think about nothing – not work, diapers, dinner, or my latest encounter with Becky. My nightly ritual resembles mediation – my moment of peace.

When it comes to the art of conversation, silence alone is not the answer. Silence without active listening is anything but golden. It can even border on insulting. Instead of trying to cram your ideas and perceptions on others – like Becky Babbles – perhaps your goal should be to understand: to ask questions and actively listen to the answers.

Maybe Becky would stop rambling if she thought her audience understood her. Maybe a little bit of active listening as opposed to that smirk with your buddy could validate some of her theories or ideas. Silence may be golden, but it may not always be productive. So when you run into Becky tomorrow morning and you have a few minutes to kill, engage her. Teach her how to have a productive conversation. If not, the time she wastes is your own.