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The Power of Silence: 7 Ways to Use Silence to Enhance Your Authority

There are times when silence speaks louder than words. Use it effectively to speak up for yourself, lead with authority and increase your power.



What do you do when all of a sudden you have downtime? The chances are that you rush to fill that time without thinking- by answering a few emails, surfing the net, or catching up on your recorded TV shows. You may not think about sitting in silence.

Yet most of us crave more quiet time, more stillness. So what stops us from making it happen?

Living in a doer culture where the brain shouts ‘go, go, go’ for everything, silence can be uncomfortable amidst the comfort of distractions. However, silence has its benefits, making sense to make more time for it.


What Being Silent Means, and What it Doesn’t

Being silent and being quiet are not synonymous.

You are quiet when you don’t make your voice heard despite having something to say. Whereas when your mind is in a calm space free of thinking, you are in the sacred zone of silence. Here you also listen to other people a lot better-without any agenda or judgement. It is appropriate that the words ‘silence’ and ‘listen’ are anagrams of each other.


The Silent Benefits- How Does Silence Increase Power

Being silent allows us to channelise our energies. It gives us the clarity to face adversities calmly and think clearly. Intentional silence also cultivates more awareness within us.

Silence has its uses in the professional world. Executives can harness the power of silence to emerge leaders by:


1. Building Effective Relationships

To develop trust and build effective relationships, you must talk less and listen more. Especially when you meet someone for the first time.

When you want to establish a relationship, ask questions about the other person and listen after quickly introducing yourself. You will learn about the other person, and they will also listen to you at your turn. For you have made them feel heard.


2. Emphasising a Point

Using too many words can make you lose your point. Silence, or fewer words, allows you to be heard when it matters.

Don’t answer all questions posed in a meeting. Your voice will be more potent than those who speak at every chance.


3. Skilful Negotiation

Silence can be nerve-wracking during negotiations. You turn the tables on the other person by letting them wonder what you might be thinking.

As an example, suppose the other party mentions a salary figure. Do not answer immediately. Don’t say, “I will take it” or “No.” Pause. The discomfort of the silence will make the other person want to fill the void and start talking. They might reveal some information that will help you have the upper hand moving forward in the conversation.


4. Empowering Others

Managers direct while leaders empower. Instead of telling people what to do, leaders first want to know what others think.

When you propose a new idea, ask your team members to share their thoughts with you. This will help you to gain respect and increase your power.


5. Getting the Answer

The sooner you become silent, the quicker you will get your answer. Many people make the mistake of asking a question and not stopping at the question mark.

Ask the question, and stop. Don’t continue with explanations or excuses. These words dilute the power of your message.


6. Answering Questions with More Impact

Often, you are ambushed with challenging questions and then, under pressure, answer without thinking. Instead, if you pause before answering, your words create more impact. Besides, silence also breaks the pattern of the person asking the question, giving you more leeway.

Ask the question, and stop. Don’t continue with explanations or excuses. These words dilute the power of your message.


7. Focus Your Mind

You don’t need anyone else to reap the reward of silence. Take time out of your day to be silent. Be silent for a moment when you wake up in the morning. Go into a room during the day, and close the door for a few minutes. Pause just before you go to bed.

Leave plenty of silence before answering a question. Your first thought is invariably your worst thought, which can get you in a lot of trouble.


How to Practice Intentional Silence



When You Are by Yourself

Since engaging in silence may not come easily at first, keep it simple by establishing a daily practice of intentional silence lasting five to ten minutes. Turn off your smartphone, computer, tablet or any other gadget during this period. Make a commitment to be in silence before you get out of bed.

You may also create a corner in your house or outdoor area that can serve as your silent space to observe your surroundings. Practice mindfulness in the time spent in the corner; make it a more personal time- notice the curved lines on your palms, the feel of a breeze kissing your cheeks, the sound of your breath as you inhale and exhale. Then reflect on your feelings.


When You Are With Others


Whether you are talking to your colleagues or catching up with your spouse after a long day, taking a simple pause before you respond is a way of practising silence. That small moment can make a big difference in how the conversation continues, especially during difficult conversations. Practising silence begins with your intention to do so.


The Last Word

Silence is the solution to many problems. When you talk less, you think more. Once you pause to think, you will be less tempted to react instantly. The first reaction to trouble is, more often than not, the worst reaction.

There are times when silence speaks louder than words. Use it effectively to speak up for yourself, lead with authority and increase your power.


Smita Das Jain is a Personal Empowerment Life Coach, Executive Coach and NLP Practitioner. Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Program enables busy professionals unhappy in their jobs to find time to transform their passions into pursuits so that they work because they want to, not because they have to. You can learn more about Smita’s ‘Empower Yourself’ Coaching Programs by visiting www.lifecoachsmitadjain.com.


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