The Power of Silence

One of the biggest errors early professionals make is to say too much too quickly both in person or over the internet. I am not saying that you shouldn’t say anything or be quiet on purpose when you must be assertive at your job. What I am trying to say is that the more you say, the higher the chances you will say something foolish; therefore, be very cautious with speaking your brain with someone new (or old) especially if you are new in a job. The best approach for long term professional success instead is by saying less. Chances are very high that you will appear very powerful, in control, and overtime… your actions will demand respect from others.

When you speak less, you give yourself a chance to impress and intimidate others. The former are both qualities a powerful manager should have. Even weak leaders have disguised themselves by adopting vague and open-ended conversations. You can be better than poor leaders. Be a strong leader who takes advantage of the obvious — Say less for success. In the Hebrew Bible (old Testament), is written, “Whoso keepeth his mouth and his tongue keepeth his soul from troubles” (Proverbs, 23:21). Epicteus in 55 Anno Domini stated, “You were born with two ears and one mouth for a reason.” The reason is to be frugal with speaking.

Inevitably, speaking less will make others value your opinion which in return will make you value your own time. Others will see you as an important source of information and with time… people will correlate your persona with wisdom and are likely to seek you for advice or simply to bounce ideas with. In addition, your coworkers will perceive you to be mature and professional which are two very important qualities of long-term success.

There is value in saying only what is important. You want your opinions to make an impact in your audience. Being frugal with words reduces the chances of saying something you did not intend to divulge or regret at a later time. The power of silence is everywhere and has been celebrated by Jim Collins in his book, “From Good to Great.” Contrary to what many think, the quiet leader is the one who makes the most contributions to the enterprise not the charismatic.

There is wisdom in thinking before you speak. There is power in silence.


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