This morning I helped my eight year old with her piano theory homework. ‘Rests are signs of silence. A crotchet rest means SILENCE for the value of a crotchet’.

Mmmm – good advice for more than piano practice.

Recently I blogged about questions being an art form when you are seeking team feedback at the end of a ‘whole-staff’ update.

If questions are an art form in empowering real team conversations, silence is a primary media. My bold claim is that silence is an essential leadership skill!

Once you ask a good question, silence gives people time to process their thoughts and/or gather the courage to respond. When you move on too quickly (usually driven by your nervousness at standing up the front) this can be interpreted by your audience as lack of interest in what they think.

‘Let the silence do the heavy lifting,’ is great advice from Susan Scott in her book Fierce conversations:achieving success at work and in life, one conversation at a time.

Let the silence do the heavy lifting because:

  • Silence conveys confidence:
    • in yourself that you are not nervous and flighty
    • in the audience that they have the capacity to digest the information and respond.
  • People need time to consider what you have said and think through their questions.
  • No one wants to ask the first question or make the first comment. Silence allows that to happen and then other questions and comments are guaranteed to follow.

The second key strategy to empower real team conversations is to allow silence that provides space for reflection and response.

I am sure you will already be thinking of other times that silence is a virtue. When people believe you are really listening, you will be amazed at what you are told and your communication will be much deeper as a result.

Where can you use silence today?

Have an Extraordinary day


Keen to know more? Download the complementary White Paper Facilitating Effective Team Feedback: 5 key strategies to empower real team conversations. You deliver a ‘whole-staff’ update and ask for feedback. No response. Silence. What next? You need to read this White Paper – practical strategies you can implement today to empower real team conversations.


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