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In his book The cArtas del Diablo to his nephew, C.S. Lewis describes the two eternal places very differently. Hell is full of it on the one hand Noise, while the sky is ruled by two realities: music and silence.
Our present reality, the modern world, is inundated at all times by the dynamic flames of noise: the noise of the news, the noise of work, the noise of the city, the noise of distractions and the noise of our own brains. that make us fill every second of every minute with more and more things.
What is music besides a harmonic sequence of sounds and silence? Even in our language and in the way we communicate in everyday life, silence can add value, harmony, and control to what we do. The value of silence is barely discussed these days, but it can be one of the most powerful strategic tools to help you achieve your goals in various areas.
1. Silence in your speech: the music of language
Image: Kristina Mehl on Unsplash
One of the best speeches ever given is Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” in August 1963, which was one of the cornerstones of the fight for equality in the United States and in the world. People describe this speech as “stimulating,” “powerful,” “inspirational” and “transformative” and they are absolutely right. Did you know that the speech is 28% silent? Of the 391 seconds that the speech lasted, the speaker was silent 114. This is almost a third; about two full minutes of silence. How can silence also communicate and inspire? In Steve Jobs’ most famous speech – at Stanford – silence accounts for 31% of the speech, and in that of Bill Gates at Harvard … 34%!
We have already talked about various speaking and presentation techniques that emphasize the projection of authority on the one hand and the structure of the narrative arc on the other. However, something has to be added beyond the silence that creates momentum and drive and enables information to be processed in the auditorium. Getting people to react, comment, and vibrate. In the realm of comedy and drama, they call him timed coordinationand in the oratorio we call it rhythm: it is the dance of words and silence.
Some professional speakers – I myself keep falling into this mistake – seem to have a horror of silence, speaking as if they are in some kind of race, energizing through speed. But the best speeches are not the ones that can pack more information in less time, but the ones that allow the audience to feel the rhythm of the music of the soul.
Try it out on your next presentation! Make a conscious effort to respect the silence to create a greater connection, allow depth, and bring ideas to life. May the silence be the fuse that ignites the explosion you need to change the world.
2. Silence in your conversation: the magic of questions
I am always surprised when in a meeting with a high-ranking person – a CEO, a CEO, or a high-ranking politician – the character in question takes the time to ask me how I am, how my family is doing, or how they are Things run my life. Aren’t these people extremely busy or do they have a very busy schedule?
This is not a simple coincidence. Managers know how to talk. Therefore, among other things, they are leaders: because they developed the habit of human connection. They know that the “least important” things are the most important.
Remember that the 80/20 rule is the main precept of the conversation. If silence can take up 30% of the total time in a speech, that percentage can be up to 80% in a normal conversation. In conversations and work meetings: let the others speak.
Practice in your company: Learn to guide your conversations with questions – not aggressively – that allow the other person to be the center of attention. This creates a relationship of trust and opens up new communication and project channels. Who do you work or prefer to work with? With someone you hardly know or with someone you trust? People always like to talk about themselves and feel heard. And we all go back to the people who make us feel good.
That’s right: you don’t have to do anything or say anything. Just listen with sincere attention and nod your eyes. Whoever dominates the conversation has a master key in hand that opens almost all doors in the world. This key is 80% made of the strong steel of silence.
3. Silence in Your Learning: Mentoring and Growth
“I just know that I don’t know anything”said the great Socrates when asked about his philosophical methods. It wasn’t just a catchy sentence, but a way of life: that of a person who constantly wants to learn. The world of the future is for those people who never stop learning, developing and growing.
It’s a biological fact: speaking and listening at the same time is almost impossible. To really listen we have to learn to be silent. This is the only way we can allow other people to intervene in the flow of our lives and open our arms to new universes, new ideas and new perspectives. Whoever talks a lot is a Influencer, one vote; But whoever listens a lot is a true leader.
Avoid the vices of those who don’t listen: answer, justify, explain, correct, and overcome. Shut up. Keep the urge to answer. Save yourself the hassle of making excuses and if you are criticized constructively, Shut up and listen.
- If your boss corrects you, shut up and listen.
- If your parents advise you, shut up and listen.
- When your partner is talking to you, shut up and listen.
- If your teacher catches your attention, shut up and listen.
- When your coworkers or team are talking, be quiet and listen.
This may be difficult for you to believe, but the vast majority of the people you know love you and want your well-being: They want you to be successful and happy.
If you can, find a mentor: someone you admire and have experience in life and business. Look for it, open the channels of communication, practice questions and later Shut up and listen.
Those who can ask and listen are on the fast lane to growth. Don’t stay outside.
4. Silence in your days: reflection and creativity
There is no philosophy or creed of happiness – from the Far East to the modern West – that does not recommend the practice of any form of silent reflection: meditation, prayer, or prayer. Mindfulness.
It’s not just a coincidence, but one of the most basic human truths. We can’t always run: our bodies and minds need silence to rebuild. In silence, our brain creates millions of neural connections that help it learn, remember and shape habits. In silence, our hemispheres align to find creative solutions to the problems that affect us. In silence, our heart rate is ordered with our minds, creating a feeling of withdrawal, well-being and oneness.
In his book Tribe of mentorsTim Ferris asked over a hundred successful people – entrepreneurs, artists, Influencer and athletes – what was an activity they had recently learned that had changed their life. Many answered “read” (which also happens in silence), “train” or learn a technique; but most of the variants of silence mentioned: “Break “,” prayer “,” meditation “ or special “Silence”. The habit of stopping and being silent for 15 minutes can not only improve your health and life, but also transform your business prospects.
It’s the simplest habit on the list. Are you ready to try
5. Silence in negotiations: control and radar
There are several books on the art of bargaining, persuading, or selling. It is one of the oldest arts and also one of the most productive. The ability to convince others comes first by establishing a relationship of authority or trust and later by establishing a common goal that the other person perceives as attractive, necessary, or inevitable.
Within the dance that is every negotiation, silence occupies a fundamental place. Sales techniques that rely on rush and pressure may seem effective at first, but they fail – nobody wants to be pressured into making a decision they don’t want to make. Pressure creates resentment and regret that harms any relationship.
The great negotiator is a master of the art of silence and maintains control of his own impulses: the impulse to win, to close, to win or to collect his mandate. Let the negotiation breathe and have its own rhythm. He knows that the decision must come from the other party without losing control of the process. And to do so, he must learn to master the most difficult skill of a legendary negotiator: the art of silence.
The tools of silence that we examined (the questioning, listening, rhythm, and reflection) become useful growth habits for any businessman, entrepreneur, or Intrapreneur. To get out of the rat race, you need to know how to take a break, raise your face, and make silence your best ally.