“Speech is silver, silence is golden” is an old proverb thought to originate in Arabic culture.
Although this proverb was likely not referring to negotiations, there’s tremendous value in this perception of silence and how you can use it to improve your communications.
The Black Swan Group agrees with this wisdom. We believe that by using the power of silence, it’s possible to achieve more.
In fact, we are such big fans of silence that it’s one of our core skills. We advise our clients to use Dynamic Silence™ alongside active listening. In doing so, they uncover additional information from counterparts and achieve better outcomes.
Keep reading to learn about some of the benefits of Dynamic Silence—and why you should incorporate it into your negotiation skill set.
Benefit #1: It gives your counterpart space to think.
If you’re new to the concept of Dynamic Silence, you might be thinking something along these lines: How can being quiet help me learn more and benefit my communication?
The art is in its simplicity. However, it takes a conscious effort to implement it properly.
Dynamic Silence™ is an underutilized tool. We use it to intentionally create a void in the conversation, allowing what we have just said to sink in with our counterpart. The secret lies in learning when to close our mouths and allow silence to work.
Silence is awkward. When you decide to use silence deliberately, it’s only a matter of time before your counterpart fills the void with language. You never know when Black Swans might fall into your lap simply because you quieted down.
Benefit #2: It is the perfect complement for other Black Swan skills.
So how is it used? Easy. Here’s an example:
Your counterpart explains how other companies have been raising their rates. We can apply a Label: It sounds like having a contracted price is important to you. Or, we can apply a Mirror: They keep raising their rates?
In either example, we close our mouths once we’ve said our piece. We don’t add on to the Label; no further explanation is needed. Just let your comment sit and ferment, counting to yourself: one-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand.
Typically, within 3-4 seconds, your counterpart will start talking. They will provide additional information about their position—information you did not previously have.
What happens if we get to 10-12 seconds and our counterpart hasn’t responded? It might signal that we missed something.
Don’t panic. Simply apply another Label to their non-response: It seems like I may have missed something important to you.
Benefit #3: It works on all negotiator types.
The use of Dynamic Silence is incredibly valuable because it appeals to each of our personality types.
The Assertive sees the silence as their opportunity to speak. The Analyst sees silence as an opportunity to ponder your statement. The Accommodator wonders why you stopped talking and feels obligated to speak.
No matter what situation you’re in, Dynamic Silence is ready to help.
Improve your communications skills with Dynamic Silence™!
Your use of Dynamic Silence will greatly improve your communication skills and your ability to use Tactical Empathy™. Although the concept is easy, it does require conscious effort to know when to close our mouths. (It’s a regular struggle for me.)
Go out and use this technique in low-stakes situations to see how powerful Dynamic Silence is.
In the words of Leonardo da Vinci, “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”
To learn more about The Black Swan Group’s core skills, check this out.