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  • A Cup of Coffee to the Power of Silence

    From lengthy posts to brief status updates, tweets, check-ins and online responses…there are an endless number of ways to deliver our message today.

    But there is one personal communication tool that is often overlooked: Silence.

    Several years ago, Esquire’s Tom Chiarella wrote an article on the power of silence, in which he pointed out that we often fill in dead air to make the people around us more comfortable. We talk to justify what we are doing, why we’re there, and what we are thinking.

    The power of silence

    When we enter a meeting or gathering, we naturally believe other people belong there–even though they may have entered the room just moments before us. Chiarella noted that it is second nature to ask if we’re in the right place or to mention who recommended our visit to provide proof that we deserve to be there as well…and that we eventually turn to idle chatter to prove to others that we are “nice” so they’ll be happy that we came.

    In his article, Chiarella described his month-long experiment with silence. He didn’t void out all trains of thought—he was simply cognoscente of the usage of silence on a more regular basis.

    He quickly learned that the more tacit he became, the more deference he received. The longer he waited to respond, the more value his chosen words seemed to have–not just in business situations, but in all areas of his life–resulting in more respect in art galleries, better tables in restaurants, and superior treatment from valets.

    Silence is an integral business and personal communication tool that should not be overlooked throughout the storm raging on the social media landscape.

    For those of you who utilize the power of silence on a regular basis–how has it worked for you? Please share with us your experiences–

    For those who have not, try the experiment for a week and let us know how it goes–what changed for you in your daily communications? What happens when we pause before blurting out our typical automatic responses, or take an extra three seconds before we speak?

    Based on what we learn, let’s then take a look at how we might choose to use our words differently in order to improve our core brand messaging.

    Wendy Brache builds and executes personal branding and online marketing strategy for executives and corporations in the high-tech sector. She is the author of Sales Force Branding: Differentiate from the Competition, and co-creator of the Sales Force Branding program. Wendy is a senior consultant specializing in B2B Corporate Social Media, Demand Generation and Marketing Automation, and is also a featured marketing technology speaker and columnist on renowned websites, such as Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, Chopra’s Intent.com and Denver’s GreatIdeasForKids.com.

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