When the BEST Strategy is to ZIP IT!

Man With Hand Over His Mouth - Censorship

Do you want to know the BEST strategy to being an effective leader? It’s knowing when to stay QUIET! (and I don’t mean “keeping your mouth shut when you don’t have anything nice to say”).  I’m talking about those big moments when you’re going to come out looking a whole lot better by keeping your mouth shut

The kids at Mashable came up with a list of the best times when then sounds of silence are the best sounds for you… because sometimes the best thing to say… is absolutely nothing at all:

  • When you’ve asked a question.  There’s honestly nothing more annoying than when someone asks a question but can’t wait for you to finish so they can just give their own viewpoint. Sometimes they don’t even bother waiting and instead try to hurry you along with  “uh-huh, right, right,right…” When they asked for advice, what they REALLY meant was, “Let’s fast-forward to the part where I tell you what I think, instead.”
  • When the other side misunderstands (and you don’t have a duty to talk). There are some cases where you want to make sure you’re misrepresented…and other times when the mistake by the other person is their own fault. Those are the times you want to keep quiet…especially in negotiations! If you’ve told the truth and the other side gets confused and thinks they’re getting a great deal, it’s not your fault. You don’t always have an obligation to correct someone else’s mistakes.
  • When you don’t have any idea what you’re talking about. Stop getting freaked out by silence. People usually fill awkward silences by babbling … sometimes people babble so much they prove they have no idea what they’re talking about… or even worse, they dig themselves into a hole!  Never fill a silence when you don’t have anything useful to fill it with… especially when it comes to negotiations.
  • When you need someone else to get the credit. Sometimes the only way to get something done is to make someone else think it was their idea.
  • When you’re bragging (not sharing). Everyone online seems to be eating well, taking amazing vacations, running marathons, and enjoying storybook relationships. It’s usually not sharing… it’s bragging. 
  • When your advice is more about you than the other person.Don’t always look to “one up” the other person or talk them out of something just so it makes you look better.
  • When you are clearly boring people. Admit it. You’re not always entertaining. You can probably tell if you’re holding court for an audience that couldn’t care less.
  • When you begin a speech. Silence can sometimes make people pay attention. Anytime you give a speech, start out with a long, uncomfortable pause. It will make the audience uncomfortable for moment and then it gets them rooting for you. They worry that you’ve lost your notes or that you’re about to keel over from a panic attack. This way, when youstart talking, they’ll be paying attetion and at least some of them will be happy you didn’t have a meltdown.
  • When the other side in a negotiation starts debating against itself. It’s easy to get into a spiral of bad negotiating tactics and the other side can end up outsmarting themselves— maybe making an offer and then rejecting their own offer because they think you won’t take it. It’s like asking for a discount and then immediately saying that it’s too much to ask and withdrawing your request. This is exactly how I got my house for $50,000 LESS than the asking price… I just sat there and let the agent panic that I was going to walk away…. which I wouldn’t have (but they didn’t know that).
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