I remember my first retreat only too well.
I had announced to some of my work colleagues at the time, that I was heading to a monastery for 8 days of total silence with a bunch of monks. The look on their faces said it all. Heck..I had the same look on my face, which equated to: "Am I nuts? I'm a globe-trotting marketing executive and I'm voluntarily going to go spend my vacation with some monks in complete silence, sitting and meditating all day."
So what's the point in silence you may be wondering...?