Have you ever been in a meeting where the person you are talking to remains silent and you inexplicably feel logorrhoeic? Have you ever been in a meeting where someone was talking so much that you stopped listening?
Let’s be honest – this has happened to most of us. Silence can be unsettling at best. In fact, increasingly we seem to avoid silence as it something may happen. We avoid silence so much that we even use headphones to meditate: go figure!
The sense of uneasy caused by silence is often understood as a threat to:
- Asserting our authority and position in the tribe
- Comforting us and others
- Making our point of view heard
So why is it that in ancient times silence was regarded as a virtue and a tool of the wise? Yet, things happened even then. What could possibly have changed today to make silence a concern? I would even question if most of the things that are said are not relevant or important and are a simple distraction and noise. Imagine distilling conversations to the point. So much more time would be saved in business, time that could be put to good use elsewhere.
When doing business, it is no different. Communication has been exponentially growing and has become an important tool in companies’ arsenal. In negotiations certainly. But the same words can have social and culturally different meanings, even between generations from the same place. So don’t underestimate the use of simple and direct words.
So, if you really have to talk and not let your actions talk on your behalf, make sure to use these 5 key rules
- Keep it short and simple;
- Keep it to the point (focus on a max of 3 points);
- Know what you want to say before you start talking;
- Communicate with words that can be understood; and
- Be the last to talk.
Communication is not the number of words we say, this is, in my opinion, a very common mistake. It is about conveying precisely and efficiently what is important. Let the Silence do the talk!