Being a leader means many things, but one of the most important skills for anyone who is in charge of other people, is the ability to command a room and to gain attention. You can be the best leader in the world in terms of your strategizing and your people management – but if you can’t get anyone to listen to you, then you won’t be effective!
One of the greatest tools in your arsenal when it comes to getting over this obstacle and commanding that audience, is to use silence.
Many of us think that the best way to gain attention and to look in control, is to shout and make a lot of noise. The truth couldn’t be further from this.
Why is that? Because when you shout and make fuss, you look desperate for that attention. Most of us have been conditioned to learn that if someone is desperate for attention, then we probably shouldn’t give it to them!
Conversely, someone who is seemingly calm and indifferent to you, will instantly become more intriguing and dynamic. Because they are trying to impress you, the power dynamic shifts and you find yourself trying to impress them.
When someone stands up to talk and starts with a moment of silence, this makes them seem extremely confident. That’s because most of us are constantly anxious that even a moment of silence will mean we lose our audience!
At the same time, starting a sentence or a speech with silence will ensure that everyone needs to lean in and listen to what you are saying. This will set the tone for what you’re about to say.
Watch an actor or a politician who is known for being charismatic. That could be Will Smith, Dwayne Johnson, Obama, etc. What you will find, is that they tell a lot of stories. And when they do this, they leave moments of silence in between their statements in order to create suspense and drama. This is one of the biggest differences between those confident and charismatic speakers, versus someone who comes across as nervous and anxious.
How can a story have a dynamic ebb and flow if you try to get it all out in moments?
And when someone uses silence in this way, they come across as supremely confident and in charge of the room.
Try using more silence the next time you speak to someone, and see just how powerful this can be!