Words can be powerful. They can influence and they can persuade. But in the same way the space between notes create rhythm, silence between words and sentences give people a place to pause, reflect and respond.
So, when are the best moments to be silent.
1. After you’ve asked for the order
The mark of a great sales person is how comfortable they are with the silence that inevitably occurs during a sales call. The tension is particularly evident immediately after the sales person has asked for the order. New sales people often mistake that silence for disagreement but the best option is always more silence. Avoid the temptation to fill in the silence with more words. It rarely works. Instead, sit still and quietly and listen. More often than not the answer will be yes.
2. When you start a speech
Nervous speakers hit the podium and start talking right away. The best option, though, is to pause. Look out over the audience. Make eye contact – then start speaking. That deliberate pause is the most powerful ways of getting attention at your disposal.
3. When you’re listening
Nothing says you care more than active listening. That means eye contact and it means nodding. But it also means attentive silence. Your friends, your family and your customers will thank you for your willingness to be silent.
4. When the people you’re trying to sell to are debating the purchase
Purchase decisions – especially for those who aren’t experienced negotiators – can be stressful. That stress can cause couples and buying groups to argue amongst themselves. When that happens it’s almost always unwise to say anything. Instead, stand back, listen and let them talk. Don’t interrupt. Often arguments are a way for people to slow the decision making process down. And the reason they want to slow things down is they love what you’re selling. But the more they debate the closer they are to a decision. Right now silence is your best friend.
5. When emotions are running high
When emotions are running high words are rarely helpful. On the other hand silence soaks up anger like a sponge and it gives sadness the space it needs to transform into joy.
What moments have I missed?
Photo: Alias 0591 on Flickr