The Sounds of Silence

2012 was the year I embraced silence. And when I say that I hated silence before, I’m not exaggerating; I couldn’t sleep without the white noise of a fan until a few months ago, when I forced myself to deal with it. We’re talking panic attacks because the quiet was oppressive, which is the only reason my gentleman callers ever tolerated my crazy. (One even went out and bought a fan after my first night at his place.)

But I’m also learning how effective letting a pause lengthen into uncomfortable territory can be. I mostly use it in interviews (I usually feel as if actors suddenly realize, during the pause, that I might be judging them and scurry to keep talking), but try it in life, too! It doesn’t need to be a loaded conversation. Just try letting a silence linger for a few seconds more than you normally would and see the results.

(Yeah, yeah, it’s a power move but that doesn’t make it any less effective or entertaining.)


3 thoughts on “The Sounds of Silence

  1. YES. I use this in negotiations all the time. Most people can’t stand silence and will say the wildest things just to fill the air.

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