Silence is often perceived as awkward and uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be.
Learning to appreciate silence and use it to your advantage can be a useful tool in a professional environment. Sometimes staying quiet puts the ball in the other person’s court and helps you get what you want.
Strategic silence can be powerful during a negotiation, an interview, or a big presentation. Here’s why:
1. It allows a key point to sink in, says Skip Weissman, a workplace communication expert.
2. It gives you a chance to think about how to make your next point.
3. The other person may seek to fill the silence with an offer, writes Steve Gates in “The Negotiation Book.”
4. People will likely keep talking and give you more information.
5. It can calm down both parties during an argument.
6. If a conversation is intense, it allows the other person time to reflect on what you’re saying.
7. You won’t say anything you regret.
8. It shows you’re willing to listen.
9. Not interrupting is a sign of respect.
10. Silent activities, like meditation, are great for physical and mental health.
11. Mentally strong people use quiet time to bring mindfulness and better focus.
12. They also use it to reflect on their short- and long-term goals.
Awkward silences may feel like a few minutes, but they really only last a few seconds. Although it may be uncomfortable, learning to welcome silence can put you in a position of power and help you get what you want.
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