The Power of the Pause
Attention to detail and connecting with whom your speaking with is key to any conversation. One very effective method of soliciting more information from the other party is the Power of the Pause. Pausing can be used not only to solicit additional information but also to capture the importance of the previous statement. Let’s tackle solicitation of additional information first.
When conversing and asking open-ended questions, one way to let the speaker know that more is expected is by pausing. Three to five seconds is sufficient without being awkward. People despise SILENCE so the natural human inclination is to fill that silence with speech. Usually, they continue the conversation, if there was more to add. The silence also indicates that we expected more and it affords them this opportunity. Silence can be awkward for the other party as well so it must be a tactic that is used consistently and we must get comfortable with the silence. As Depeche Mode coined…..”Enjoy the Silence”…..
Another positive use of silence is to highlight the importance of what was just said. For example, if there is a key point, make sure to pause after and give the listener(s) an opportunity to take it all in. If you move too quickly to the next subject, the importance of what was just said will be less meaningless.
Silence is an importance aspect of effective communication. Used correctly, it will solicit more information in addition to highlighting the importance of what was just said.