● By Siew Ching
Sometimes bragging rights won’t be your key to the top…
You know that saying “empty vessels make the most sound?” It simply means that people who talk the most are those with no inner substance. We’ve all met that person before whether at work or through a personal capacity – he talks the loudest, brags the most about his “accomplishments” but when it really gets down to it, oftentimes these are the people who flake out when it comes to doing the actual work.
That’s not to say that those who claim they know don’t really know! There is a thin line between self-confidence and bragging, and the difference is being able to back up your claims.
But we’re not here to talk about that – we’re here to talk about why silence is gold! You’ve also met the type: The strong silent type who during a meeting is just analysing and paying attention, and when it comes to sharing his opinion, he gives the clearest answer that makes the most sense. Take the best football player for example, Messi! So many articles have been written about him being quiet on the pitch, just walking and walking while checking out the play. What he’s really doing is taking the entire pitch in and analysing his moves to advance towards the goal line. And when the time is right… well, we all know what happens!
So why silence? Like Messi, silence allows you to enrich yourself by listening more, analysing your situations, and exploring your next few moves. In the office environment, it allows you to really concentrate on the problem at hand instead of just complaining or making a whole lot of noise but taking no action. At the same time, when you are quiet, you are calmly facing the challenges and uncertainty, not being all over the place feeling all kinds of anxiety. You have the opportunity to think things through clearly and when you do speak, your words count and make sense, helping you stand out as a rational person who’s analytical and has a voice for reason.
It's like the other saying: Action speaks louder than words. Forget the criticising or the complaining. Instead, focus on working hard in silence and creating an environment where you are not surrounded by the negativity of loud noises. You don’t have to brag to be heard. When you are good – like Messi – your actions will be noticed, and you don’t even have to be the one to talk about it.
How to nurture this golden silence? Here are some ideas:
#1 Spend a few minutes in the morning in complete stillness and silence
Use this precious time to think of what you want to achieve and how you want to do so. This will make you more resolute to commit to your goals as they are “louder and clearer” in your mind than when cluttered with everyday noise.
#2 Use it during meetings
If you spend an entire meeting blabbing away your ideas and suggestions, others may quickly get tired of hearing you talk. But if you are quiet taking in everything that is being discussed, you are able to form more relevant opinions after having given more thought to the matter at hand. And when you are quiet, others are more likely to call you out on this, asking you for your opinion. This is then your opportunity to share your genius ideas.
#3 Use it to achieve more goals
A study published by NYU revealed that when participants share their goals with others, they are more likely to give up on them! But on the flipside, those who kept their dreams to themselves had a higher success rate. Weird but true – the research suggested that when we walk about our goals, we feel as though we’ve achieved some parts of it. By doing this, we trick our brain into thinking we’d done it, so we give up. Meanwhile, when we don’t talk about it, it appears as if nothing has happened so we are more likely to push through and stick to the task.
#4 Listen more!
The next time you want to challenge or correct someone, do this instead: Listen. It’s easy to tell people why they are wrong but to listen to why someone did something the way they did – that’s a skill that will come in handy for your career. Not only will you diffuse any misunderstanding, taking the time to listen (quietly too we must add!) will help you try to understand what’s going through their mind so that you can then find a common ground between your thoughts and theirs, and then resolve things more professionally. When you listen first talk later, you have the chance to explain why you think you are right without agitating the other party. This in hand will let them take your points more willingly and maybe see things your way. All because you were quiet in the beginning!
Got a story to share on how silence is golden worked for you? Tell us at Twitter @Graduan.
Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash.
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