10 Things I Learned from Using Silence in Conversations

Omer Glass
May 12, 2018 · 2 min read

“The empty vessel makes the greatest sound.”
William Shakespeare, Henry V (Act IV, scene 4)

“Comic rocks”
Omer Glass, Elementary School (V Grade)

In the altMBA, Seth Godin asked me to practice silence in my conversations.
So, I tried my best to create moments of silence wherever I could.

It looked like that:

It was fun. It was helpful. It was awkward. I loved it.

10 things I’ve learned from it:

  1. I talk too much. Israeli + an extrovert is a rough combination. I tend to jump into the conversation in the middle of a sentence. I’ve noticed the large difference between my regular talking habit to the current state of “seeking the silence”.
  2. Silence Feels good. It makes the conversation more relaxed, more fun and less exhausting.
  3. Silence increases the focus on the other person. When I was looking for opportunities to create silence, I have noticed that I am much more focused on the other person’s experience, thoughts & feelings and less about what I want to say.
  4. …But not always — in case of a small talk, if I am silent after the other person finished talking (#1 in the comic) or if I just pause in the middle of a sentence (#2), it is just weird. I tried it alot and I may need to find new friends now.
  5. When the conversation is significant (#4–6) you can’t go wrong with silence. every time I used silence while I or the other person were saying something important, it has built a positive tension and/or the message was more powerful. Especially after a question I asked.
  6. It’s a great tool to highlight a point. Making a few seconds pause after saying something important (#5) increases its impact.
  7. It helps the other person understand me. Our ability to process information is limited. Silence decreases the amount of information, thus it is easier to understand what we want.
  8. People agree with me more. I tried to challenge stubborn people in hard and important challenges in order to make a good use of the exercise. In a magical way, they have all agreed.
  9. It is hard to keep the silence. Most of the times I created silence, the other person tried to fill the void with talking. It is important not to let go, and keep silence (but not in a weird way) to benefit from it.
  10. When you run out of ideas, use < Silence >

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