Monday, 22 July 2013

4 Situations Where You should use the Power of Silence

Many great men have spoken about the Power of silence

These a few of my favorite ones ......

“The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause"  

“Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever regret.” 

“You should try not to talk so much, friend. You'll sound far less stupid that way"

“Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken” 

“We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out..”

"He who does not know how to be silent will not know how to speak"

“There is nothing harder, at moments, than talking to someone who has all the power of silence.” 

The following are some of my own experiments with Silence and you bet they have worked for me :


  • During Presentations : I plan for the appropriate place during my presentations , where I deliberately pause with somewhat long silence.  This is usually done when I have told the audience a story. I give a long pause, looking directly at them. I can sense their involvement by the pin drop silence  and then when I say something , it has a really big impact  ! 

  • During Negotiations :  Silence works during negotiations. There will be moments when both the parties become quiet and it seems as if the discussions have come to a stand still . These moments are really awkward. But a good negotiator is strong enough to endure the awkwardness of the silent minutes and remain silent and stoic  so that the other party re opens the conversation.  This sure is tough - at least to me - and it comes with practice.

  •  When you are Angry :  Whether it is a face to face conversation or a telephonic one or over email, if you are really angry or upset, do not respond. Remain silent for sometime. The rule of thumb for email is that do not respond or 24 hours. There have been several instances where I have seen things in a different light after I have regained my composure and I could respond in a more sensible manner. "I have often regretted my speech but never my silence". 

  • When you have to make a point :  Several times while giving feedback for improvement, I have experienced strong vocal arguments - explaining and defending themselves. It is a natural human tendency to react to negative feedback. If the manager has enough emotional intelligence, she will not react. Instead she will remain silent till the other person calms down and even beyond that. "Silence is one of the hardest arguments to refute"

Have you tried the Power of Silence ? 

Do let me know about your experiences with the unspoken words.


7 comments:

  1. Many times I experiences the power of silence...... N ...too many times things r going worst due to words.

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  2. I have experienced situations where two people converse and one is overpowering him/her with their speech. This sometimes irritates when you when someone blocks you from speaking or put your point. This silence sometimes makes us feel dominated.

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  3. triveni shukla24 July 2013 00:06

    if there's a problem putting one's point forward, it is a problem related to lack of assertion or being too polite at times, nothing like silence dominating. And if one is silent for a long time and the other goes on without a break, the silent one isn't really listening or bothered anyway

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  4. Excellent article and great points! I especially agree with the point that we should not speak if we are angry.

    Also, I like to refrain from speaking if I can't add value, and the point or correction I may want to make is not important.
    Thank you again!

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    1. Thanks Patricia ! Yes, you are right. If I am not adding value, it is better to be quiet !

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  5. I think for the same reason India's Prime Minister mostly remains silent ;).

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    1. Ha , Ha ! But the current one is too vocal !

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