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Communicating Part I: The Power of Silence

Here is a description of Ann Huntress Lamont, venture capitalist and wife of Connecticut senatorial candidate Ned Lamont:

“She’s wise and practical and doesn’t talk when it’s not important and does talk when it is.”

This started me thinking about the best business developers I know in law and accounting. Almost without exception, they understand the power of silence in a conversation with a client or prospect. They simply know when to stop talking. They know when to listen. They know when a message has been well delivered. And when it has been, they stop moving their lips. They give the other person time and space to respond, and are comfortable with the silence in the room. This is a very powerful technique.

The next time you’re on the verge of tumbling down a slippery verbal slope, remember the wisest and most powerful people you know. They often are those who appear to have the least to say, who are usually sitting quietly in a group and taking it all in, but who are straightforward and anything but reticent when they choose to speak.

It is this very reticence that makes people seem wise, and it is their willingness to speak when necessary that makes them powerful.

© Melinda Guillemette 2009