Using silence to find out more
Silence is a powerful way by which you can elicit more information from people you are talking with – especially when talking with customers or interviewees.
A Golden Silence is when you pause, deliberately, so that you can listen without thinking of what you are going to say next. There are two forms of Golden Silence:
Golden Silence I – you simply pause for approximately three to four seconds after you ask a question,
Golden Silence II – you simply pause for approximately three to four seconds after the person responds.
Golden Silence I – this gives the other person, your customer or interviewee, a moment to think about what has been asked and how to respond. This is likely to provide more solid information.
Golden Silence II – this gives you a better chance to understand what has been said, furthermore during the second pause the customer or interviewee will often reflect further and provide additional information.
Be careful how you use Golden Silence so it does not seem manipulative or intrusive. The Golden Silence technique is mean to expand, not limit, the possibilities of Superb Communication. As such, by paying close attention to how the customer reacts, it vastly improves your chances of reaching a better result.
Benefits of Golden Silence
- The number of interactions increase
- The length of responses increases
- The reliability of the information you get increases
- Your level of comprehension increases
- The opportunity for misinterpretation is reduced
- The number of relevant unsolicited responses increases
- The number of customers’ questions increase
- Dialogue shifts to the customer’s real wants and needs, and away from those of the seller
- It gives you more time to think
Techniques to Avoid
- Using the phrase – ‘think about it’ – it is vague and can come across as a subtle put-down
- Using ‘Yes…but…’ – this occurs when the dialogue is stalled
- Rhetorical questions – they add nothing to the dialogue and can be manipulative.
- Asking ‘Why?’ immediately after they reply – this can put people on the defensive.
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