When Staying Quiet at Work is Really Your Best Option

When Staying Quiet at Work is Really Your Best Option

ng-quiet-work-is-actually-good-thing_1280x600 You’ve probably read before about the key phrases that greatest leaders say every day.

But great leaders are also wise when it comes to the opposite strategy: Sometimes, the smartest thing to say is nothing at all.

I’m not referring here simply to the advice your mother might have given you about keeping your mouth shut if you don’t have anything nice to say. Instead, think of the big moments when people come close to achieving goals, accomplishing great things, or even just developing good relationships and encouraging people to like them more. Sometimes, a simple slip of the tongue can set them back and destroy all they’ve worked for.

It’s the same issue whether we’re talking about negotiations, investigations, or plain old conversations. So, in the interest of preventing us from wishing wistfully that our mouths had been on mute, here are 10 times when the sounds of silence are the best sounds of all.

1. When the other side in a negotiation starts debating against itself

Sometimes people get in a spiral of bad negotiating tactics. They ask questions but can’t wait for you to finish so they can offer their own viewpoint. Sometimes they don’t even bother waiting and instead try to hurry you along with verbal cues—“uh-huh, uh-huh, right, right, right…”

When asked for advice, what they really meant was, “Let’s fast-forward to the part where I tell you what I think, instead.” Don’t be like them. To paraphrase baseball great Yogi Berra, you can observe a lot by watching, and you can also learn a lot by listening.

2. When the other side misunderstands (and you don’t have a duty to talk)

A lawyer once told me about selling a client’s company. To make a long story short (lawyers love that phrase), the negotiation went much more smoothly than she’d expected. Eventually, she realized

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