We have a very conflictual relationship with silence, we can almost talk about a phobia of the void! It is hard for us to accept it, and we are constantly looking for ways to fill it. And it gets even worse when we are about to give a speech. We are afraid to pause, from fear of appearing incompetent or hesitant, from fear of losing our credibility. The result: we look for ways to fill that silence, we speak faster and we keep adding more and more words.
But this is where we make a mistake. Contrary to popular thinking, silence is far from being a sign of weakness, and it can contribute to building your leadership vis-à-vis your audience.
Here are four reasons to be silent:
- To gather your thoughts: Quite simply, rather than stringing together more misconceived ideas at the risk of getting lost.
- To amplify your remarks: Marking a pause will allow you to emphasize an idea, amplify its impact, to highlight a word or a phrase that without a pause would not have been noticed.
- To better connect with your audience: Marking a pause, specifically at the end of a sentence, allows you to verify the impact of your words on your audience. You will be able to easily spot those who are following you, those who have switched off and those who disagree. It will strengthen your connection with your audience and will allow you to anticipate their every reaction.
- To inspire trust and better control your message: It is not easy to be silent when all eyes are on you. Marking a pause is a sign of confidence that inspires trust.
So, don’t be afraid of silence anymore, embrace it!