While silence can be awkward, learning how to use it at the right moment can be powerful. Conventional wisdom tells us that if you make your voice heard, be it in a classroom, in a board meeting or at a networking event, you are going to get what you want. One of the quotes that tends to resonate with my thinking is: “the loudest in the room is the weakest in the room”. And what I have learned in over 25 years as an entrepreneur and as I senior advisor is that decision makers appreciate quiet leadership as they often associate that with mature judgment. My advice today is going to be how to use silence to your advantage both in your personal and professional life.
The power of silence
Being silent allows us to channel our energies and focus on the people and on the events that are happening around us. Silence gives us the clarity we need to calmly face challenges, uncertainty and negotiations. The hour of silence I practice each morning, and encourage you to practice as well, is a powerful time for collecting our thoughts, training our minds, and unleashing powerful creativity. When you get used to practicing it, you will get full control of the rest of the day. You will become effective at killing the noise around you, putting on shutters, setting goals, and moving forward on what matters for success.
Many of us are so used to noise that we don’t even know that silence exists. We live in a world full of noise and chatter. A world in which our lives are challenges with distractions. These distractions are killing our focus and making our objectives less achievable. Adopt silence and you will regain focus and accelerate personal performance.
Silence is also powerful for maximizing negotiations performance and for persuading your audience. If you are in a negotiation session, talk less and measure your words making your remarks definitive. Then stay quiet. The less information you give away, the more difficult it will be to anticipate your next move. This will help you to gain bargaining power and decision-making authority. If you are seeking attention, when making presentations or pitching investors, have long pauses in between your remarks. These can be 10 second longs in between slides and you will create a powerful crescendo towards your final remarks.
Don’t forget that even a no-reply to an unpleasant email is a reply. Learn to leave silence and you will become happier, more effective, and more trustworthy.