Many feel that someone must be talking at all times to create a perfectly smooth conversation. While moments of silence make you uncomfortable, they’re actually a sign of self-confidence and make for a better, more thoughtful experience.
Here are tips for harnessing the power of silence and becoming a more effective communicator (and negotiator):
Don’t rush to fill the silence after you’ve spoken. If you’re meeting with a customer or prospect, don’t muddy the waters with filler and fluff. Answer questions directly and let them sink in. When you ask questions, give the other person time to thoughtfully respond, too. When you think they have finished talking, wait a bit longer – they may fill the silence with more information that will be helpful.
Likewise, don’t rush to fill the silence when you are answering a question. Use silence as a tool. Take a moment to think of the question and formulate an effective response. Sometimes we’re too quick to start talking without knowing what we’re planning to say, or fully understanding what is being asked. Additionally, that pause shows the other person you’re engaged in the conversation instead of regurgitating the same old sales material.
Fully listen. Giving yourself permission to take time and think of your response not only makes your words more thoughtful, but your listening too! If you fully focus while your prospects are speaking, without simultaneously thinking of your reply, you’ll be more likely to hear important details and respond more effectively.
Silence is a difficult but powerful tactic to learn. Try working these habits into your daily conversations, and note how much more effectively you communicate.