A lot has been written about the use of silence in selling, negotiating, and in all sorts of business scenarios. There is a good reason for that! There comes a point in almost any sales pitch or negotiation when the other person should be talking AND there comes a point when no one should be talking. It is often hard to be quiet, as silence is a void and naturally we just want to fill it! A few things to think about:
1. If we stop talking and just listen, we might actually learn something! By making the other guy talk, who knows what we may uncover, reinforce, or establish for the first time.
2. When we stop talking, we have a chance to collect our thoughts. We can be more cautious and tempered in what we say. Also, it helps to lesson the risk of saying too much, saying something we actually don’t really want to say, or saying something in the heat of the moment which we really didn’t intend to say. By remaining quiet, we also strongly influence the impression we make on others. Think about it, when you are in a meeting and there is one stoic executive in the room that speaks very seldom – what happens? That’s right – we anticipate what he is going to say and literally hang on his every word.
3. Once we ‘secure the deal,’ so to speak, BE QUIET. This is a ‘101’ sales technique, yet often we just can’t resist the temptation. Imagine when we have just landed the ‘big one’ and in our excitement we joyously say: “You won’t regret this! This is the best decision you have ever made!” You get the picture. Even the most trusting person will begin to wonder … geez, what have I just done?! So, just say thank you, shake hands, and leave! Confirm the details later in writing not in the glitter of the moment.
In a nutshell, as my father has always said: ‘Engage mind before mouth’ and ‘Listen 90% of time, speak 10%.’ When I have actually adhered to this advice, it has served me well.