Running Silent, Running Deep


Based on the notion that the most beautiful things in life are the simpler ones, I have to admit that simplicity dominates or must dominate also in Communications.  In this post we will discuss the “Silent Treatment” in Communications, all its prerequisites and results.

Surprisingly remaining silent is one of the most effective strategic decisions you can make, especially if doing so, results an increase of information that you will eventually collect from your interlocutor. Usually, if you restrain yourself from immediately answering on somebody’s words, you will observe that he/she keeps adding information to these words, providing you with an added value that they wouldn’t have done otherwise. For example:

Case 1

-I really like Linda, she is a very interesting person.

-Oh yeah, me too! She is great. 

Case 2

I really like Linda, she is a very interesting person.

-(Silent but focused)

-However, there was this time that she got angry with me and she became really aggressive and mean. For that reason I am a bit suspicious on her.

In the second case by holding your answer for 5-7 seconds, you immediately gain valuable information on the relation between Linda and your interlocutor.

As it is obvious being silent all the time is not the best of a strategy.  However, every move of your should serve one main objective, to collect as many information possible. On this reason, second on the list of strategies comes “Asking”. No matter how much information is on the table, you need to ask for more. What you receive from asking is information, and what you give is empathy and interest, two of the most important offers, in order to bring your interlocutor closer to you.

Ask ..

  1. Close-ended questions: Yes or no questions designed in order to gather information quickly, overtaking long answers or further explanations.
  2. Open-ended questions: Questions expecting broader answers that except of information directed to the question, they can also provide you with the way that your interlocutor thinks. For example, if you ask you customer “what brings you to the store?” and he/she answers “my car” you can easily understand that he/she is either a humorous personality or a mocker, and treat him/her accordingly.

Finally, observe. There is a high possibility that your client is either “anti-social” or really smart to use the same tactics that you do. In that case observe his body moves. Always remember “60% comes out of your body, 30% comes out of the tone and 10% comes verbally”. From the body move of your client, you can understand if he is mad, sad, worry, anxious, calm, etc. Be focused and try to understand which of these is their case and handle them accordingly.

PS1. Show empathy and enthusiasm to your interlocutor.

PS2. Be honest.

PS3. Smile.

PS4. Keep a sense of humor.