Adding Silence: How to improve workshops, speeches & conversations

Silence is like flipflops for the brain; it helps us slow down and relax. Consider these 5 reasons to include silence in your speeches and conversations:

  1. Silence draws attention. Pauses emphasize what you’ve just said or alerts the listener to what you’re about to say.
  2. Silence helps listeners digest. Listeners get a moment to fully digest what was just said.
  3. Silence is generous. Silence tells the speaker you’re listening and interested. Pausing after someone speaks allows them to complete their thought without feeling rushed or cut off, and gives them the chance to add or clarify a point. It also lets them hold the spotlight for a moment.
  4. Silence makes you look wise. Letting someone’s words fade into silence gives you a chance to consider what they said, and formulate a response. Even just a few seconds of silence will improve your response.
  5. Silence relaxes. When you speak slower and pause more, your body relaxes.

Try this:

  • When you’re listening to someone, relax your shoulders and jaw. Breathe slowly through your nose.
  • Wait silently for several seconds after someone finishes speaking.
  • Think carefully about your response.
  • When you’re talking, speak slower with a little more space between your words. Relax your face.