Silence they say is golden. Silence is like everything else in life; it is always about the context. In some context being silent is a mark of dignity and in another context, being silent is disrespectful and rude. But one thread that runs through both scenario is the display of power which silence wields.
The power of silence is so profound that you can make an entire room filled with people to be uncomfortable. In this article, I will be discussing the power of silence and how you can use it to your benefit in your social and work life.
Right now, take a piece of blank paper and write down the names of everyone you know or can remember. After you have done this, take another blank sheet of paper and write down the names of people you respect and admire based on the names you’ve written down in your first list.
If you take a proper analytical look at the second list (I.e. The list with the names of people you respect and admire), you would notice that those people you admire and respect have several things in common and one of those qualities is that “they talk less and listen more”. These people use the power of silence to their advantage.
Silence has many benefits when applied properly but for the sake of this article, we would look at the three benefits.
Silence Gives Meaning
If the best singer in the world walks up to you and starts singing without a pause or silence in between lines, would you call that singing? Of course not. You would call it noise because that’s exactly what it is – noise.
Without silence in any communication or entertainment, what you get is an unbearable noise. Silence gives meaning to all form of communication. The pause someone makes after the end of one sentence tells you clearly the state of the mind of the person. That silence, though not heard becomes the most important part of the communication.
When you talk to someone who is sad, happy or just confused, you can easily understand the state of their minds by the length of their silence. For example, a sad person will automatically use a longer silence period between each sentence and statements.
So in every form of communication, we can see the power of silence in clear display. It is the silence between each sentence that tells people the state of your mind. It is also this silence that let the listener know the mood of the song he or she is listening to. A sad song will always have a long silence period in comparison with a happy, jolly song.
Silence gives meaning to all forms of human oral communication and entertainment. Silence doesn’t just give meaning to verbal communications and entertainments, it does something else. It demands respect. Let’s look at the next sub-section of this article.
Silence Demands Respect
If you’re someone who has lost respect among his or her peers or colleagues, then this section of this article is very important. Read it several times if you have to.
This is nothing out there that demands respect like silence -nothing. A slim, chubby or fat silence person demands and gets more respect than a chatty muscular person. No amount of muscles, height and athletic built can make people respect you if you cannot be silent.
If you feel like you don’t get the respect you deserve. Be it at home, work or social gatherings, the fastest and surest way to fix this is to deploy silence.
When you start deploying silence in conversations, at home, work or social gathering, you should be aware that the people who have always disrespected you for being talkative and easily approachable will push back by trying to make you talk more or make rubbish jokes.
Why will the people who have always been disrespectful push back at you for being silent? It’s because they subconsciously know that silence demands respect and since they have always been disrespectful to you, they don’t want to start respecting you now. Because they have always put you in the “disrespect box”, they will do everything within their power to keep you there.
This is why immediately you’ve made a conscious decision to be silent, to listen more and talk a lot less. You would notice that people would don’t usually give you the time of the day in the past will be trying their very best to make you talk more.
This conversation they are trying to have with you has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with them. Your silence is demanding respect and since they don’t want to give it, they are fighting it by being “friendly” and starting a “conversation”.
When this happens, and I can guarantee you that it will. Don’t smile or frown your face. Just listen to what they are saying with an indifferent expression on your face and make short sentences and phrases such as “Really?”, “I see”, “Interesting”, “Hmmm” and then make them talk more by asking them a question based on everything they have said some far.
When you do this, they will talk a lot more than they have originally planned. After all, their original plan was to make you talk but instead they are the ones talking. And since they are the one talking, they are handing you back all the power you have given to them in the past.
When you start practising this art of silence, it is very likely that your old talkative habit will creep back in when you let your guard down for a minute. You must discipline yourself for this to work. So, be at your guard always.
Silence Gives Power
A talkative or chatty person will never become a person of power. Power avoids a talkative individual. In the previous section of this article, we talked about how silence demands respect. Apart from the fact that silence demands respect, it also imparts power to the man or woman who knows how to use it effectively.
Respect and power go hand in hand. A person who is not respected cannot gain or retain power. And a person of power is always respected. It doesn’t matter if you like the person or not, the very fact that they are in a position of power, means you have to respect them. You don’t have to love a person in a position of power but you must respect them or you will face the consequence of your disrespect.
Someone once described power as “having control over one’s affairs”. This is a great definition of power but in this article, power is not limited to you having control over your own affairs. It’s extended to mean you “been in control of your life affairs, in addition to you been in a position of authority to affect the lives of others in one way or the other”.
Society will always find it hard to hand over power to anyone who they don’t see as respected by his or her peers. And like I said in the previous section of this article, listening more and talking a lot less gives us respect among our peers. Your boss will not even promote you if he or she sees you as a talkative unless you work in a sales and marketing.
The less you talk, the more you are trusted and you will appear dignified because of this. This dignified appearance will make people believe that you’re someone who can be trusted with secrets. And we all know that society hand over power willingly to anyone who’s dignified, respected and can be trusted with secrets.
It’s hard living in our current society especially if you’re a man. They brainwash men to talk more, be chatty, make jokes and make people comfortable but when it comes to the things that men really care about; things like a promotion at work, attracting and keeping beautiful women, being chosen to lead at work or other types of organisation, the same society favours the quiet and mysterious man. This is the root cause of the frustration most men are experiencing right now.
Generally, a chatty person is a great person to be around. They are great to have a laugh with but that’s where it starts and ends. Society is brutal and decisive when it comes to respect and power. They will not respect the chatty person either will they ever had power over to that talkative individual.
So decide today if you want respect and power. If you want respect and power, you must learn to be silent. You must learn to listen more and talk a lot less. But when listening, remember to contribute by asking quality questions based on what you’ve heard during the conversation. Because if you only listen without contributing at all, you will come across as weird.
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Have a wonderful day.