Yet another cliche which has a kernel of truth. Only the way I look at it is, “silence is powerful.” Especially in negotiations. A very successful technique in negotiating is to state a position succinctly, then say nothing else. Or when another person takes a strong position, instead of reacting immediately be silent for a few moments. People tend to abhor silence, so they may well react without thinking through their approach, giving you an advantage.
The more powerful person the more I find that they tend to speak little and use silence strategically.
You can do the same. If someone makes an outrageous statement in a meeting, not saying anything, remaining silent can be powerful. It may give them time to reflect on their words and even walk them back.
Along with silence goes a lack of body language. Gesticulating and silence don’t go together! While practicing your silent behavior keep you face and body still – use the
well-known poker face. It doesn’t help to be silent if your face gives away what you are thinking.
Try it out. Silence may not be golden, but being quiet and still can be very effective.