The Art Of Shutting The *&@# up!

The Art Of Shutting The *&@# up!

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How often have you been to a presentation and the presenter or salesperson has spewed out facts and figures like they’re an excited teenager screaming at a Justin Bieber concert?

Learning to speak well means learning the importance of silence The art of silence is an important part of powerful and persuasive communication, but it’s an art that is often ignored. In previous articles {link to How to be a better public speaker article} we’ve looked at how powerful pauses are an essential part of being a better public speaker.

Now let’s delve a little deeper into the art of silence and how it can transform your communication skills.

Be Comfortable

We’re taught to fear silence. Silence in conversation means awkwardness and this must be combated with frivolous small talk and inane conversation.

Throw out this cultural conditioning. Start to use silence: silence after making a point, silence before answering a question, silence between important facts. Cultivate the art of silence and notice just how powerful it is.

How many times have we asked an important question only to give the listener an “out” by supplying a range of answers…”So how does this solution sound to you….just right, too expensive or not what you are looking for…?

Listening

Silence is not passive – it’s an active way of assessing your audience and adapting to what they’re presenting you. Active listening is how you gauge the impact of your words and serves as a mirror for you to calibrate your communication to the needs of your audience.

Stand-up comics are an example of public speakers who are always listening. They know, thanks to audience feedback in the form of laughter, how their words are being received. Based on this feedback they know whether to double-down on a joke or to change tack and try some other material.

Now, most of the time we’re not going to be receiving the same kind of direct feedback. But body language, facial expressions, and voice tonality are all examples of valuable information that can be mined through active listening.

Breathe in the Silence

Breathing is like the punctuation of the spoken word. Breathing effectively will slow us down, make us less nervous and make us shut up when we need to.

Your breathing is like a guide that will help you through any public speaking you need to do. It not only calms the nervous system but it also provides you with cues for the natural pauses that will make your words more powerful.

Silence is one of the most effective tools to sound more powerful. Confident people don’t fill the silence. They enjoy it.