Meaningful silence is better than loud words

Here’s how I make my words effective & impactful


Core Point: Effective communication is the key to career advancement.

When I started freelancing, I had one problem to solve. Without the solution, there was no room for growth.

The basic goal of freelancing is to interact effectively with clients, whether through cold outreach or during an ongoing project. I could not escape that. I still can’t.

I was forced to open up.

This was in 2011. I was naive, underconfident, and introverted. I’m not an extrovert now, but I’m far from an introvert when I’m in a professional setup.

Thanks to the rough phase I had to undergo more than a decade ago.

I follow six simple rules to communicate well for a fruitful freelancing career.

#1 Clarity

Be clear and concise. I avoid jargon and complex language. Once the conversation ends, the average person only remembers about 10% of what they hear.

The last thing I want is to fill that 10% with jargon and complex language that my prospects won’t even bother to understand. Speak their language.

#2 Active Listening

Effective communication is a two-way street. Active listening can lead to better understanding and stronger relationships.

Here’s how to actively listen.

Fully Engage — Put away distractions and focus entirely on the speaker. My full attention shows respect and encourages open communication.

Non-Verbal Cues — Use body language to show I’m listening, nodding, maintaining eye contact, and leaning in slightly to signal attentiveness.

Paraphrase — Restate what the speaker has said in my own words. This shows I’m trying to understand their point of view, not just waiting for my turn to speak.

Ask Open-Ended Questions — Instead of yes/no questions, ask open-ended ones to encourage the speaker to share more information. This opens up the person speaking and charges up the conversation.

Don’t Interrupt — Allow the speaker to finish their thoughts before I respond. Interruptions can disrupt the flow of conversation and may discourage the speaker. Note down points/questions & discuss later.

Provide Feedback — Don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if something is unclear. This shows that I’m engaged and want to understand fully.

Practice Empathy — Try to understand the speaker’s feelings and perspective. This can help build a stronger, more meaningful connection.

#3 Non-Verbal Communication

Pay attention to my body language. Research suggests that non-verbal communication represents two-thirds of all communication. Match your words to your non-verbal signals to make them fully attentive.

Here are some non-verbal ways of communication you can practice daily.

Body Language — This includes posture, gestures, and movements. For example, standing tall with shoulders back shows confidence, while slouching might indicate insecurity or disinterest.

Eye Contact — Maintaining eye contact when someone is speaking can show that you’re actively listening and engaged in the conversation. However, prolonged eye contact can sometimes be perceived as aggressive or intimidating.

Facial Expressions—Smiling, frowning, and raising eyebrows convey emotions without saying a word. For instance, a smile can show happiness or approval, while a frown might indicate displeasure or confusion.

#4 Empathy

Show understanding and empathy. This can build trust and rapport, which are essential for effective communication.

Empathy is the best marketing strategy ever. Here’s how you can practice empathy.

Validation — Acknowledge the feelings and perspectives of others, even if you disagree. For instance, if a friend is upset about a situation that seems minor to you, instead of saying, “That’s not a big deal,” you could say, “I can see that this is bothering you.”

Imagining Yourself in Their Place — Try to understand the situation from the other person’s point of view. If a team member resists to change, consider their perspective: “If I had been working in the same way for many years, I might also be uncomfortable with a new approach.”

#5 Feedback

Encourage feedback to ensure my message is understood. Studies indicate that immediate feedback can increase learning and retention by 4.6x.

I read somewhere (I can’t recall and find) that — “The toughest job for a leader is to support & help their co-workers without making them feel dumb.”

Here’s how to educate/communicate with people without making them feel dumb (you don’t have to be a leader for this)

Focus on the Behavior, Not the Person — When giving feedback, focus on specific behaviours or actions, not on the person. Treat the behaviour & the person as two different entities. For example, instead of saying, “You’re always late,” you could say, “I’ve noticed you’ve been late to several meetings. Is there something we can do to help with your schedule?”

Use the ‘Sandwich’ Method — Start with a positive comment, then provide constructive feedback, and end with another positive comment. This can help soften the impact of the feedback. For example, “I appreciate your creativity in our project, but we need to work more on meeting deadlines. However, your dedication and passion for our work is truly inspiring.”

Be Specific and Clear — Vague feedback can be confusing and unhelpful. Be specific about what the person did well or needs to improve. For example, instead of saying, “You need to be more professional,” you could say, “I think it would be helpful if you could respond to emails more promptly.”

Use ‘I’ Statements—This can help make your feedback less accusatory. For example, instead of saying, “You didn’t meet the deadline,” you could say, “I noticed that the project was not completed on time.”

Encourage Dialogue — Feedback should be a two-way street. Encourage your co-workers and/or clients to share their thoughts and feelings about the feedback. This can lead to a more productive and respectful conversation.

Start communicating better

The World Economic Forum suggests that critical thinking and problem-solving are among the top 10 skills for the future of work.

Both skills require being impactful with words.

It’s very easy to be poor at communication. It requires a lot of practice to improve your ability to make your words impactful.