In many situations, silence can be your mosttool. You’ll learn more and work better with others if you say nothing at these times:
- When people are thinking. If people are silent, it isn’t a cue for you to jump in to fill the silence. Instead, remain quiet and offer others the chance to think.
- When ideas are flowing. If you offer your ideas while your team is brainstorming, you can inadvertently dominate the conversation and discourage others from sharing their ideas.
- When you disagree. Don’t be too quick to state your case or defend yourself. Instead, allow the other person to finish speaking and then ask clarifying questions to ensure you understand his or her point of view before you offer your opinions.
- When someone is upset. Those moments when you don’t know what to say often are the best times to say nothing. People who are frustrated or distraught need time to vent their positions, and sometimes just being with someone is enough.
— Adapted from “Being Quiet,” Mary Jo Asmus, Aspire Collaborative Services LLC, www.aspire-cs.com.