“Sometimes, the most powerful thing you can say is nothing at all” – Mandy Hale
Are you the “can’t stop talking type”?
Or you are more the “I wish I could hide in the corner of a room and say nothing type”?
Either way, you have to deal with silence.
Just writing the word feels peaceful to me.
What does it mean to you?
I’ve been doing interviews for a few years now.
Talking with people from all around the world, with many different accents.
And I came up to this realization.
Silence is extremely powerful.
And it was filled with silences.
But before I tell you more about this unique interview, let me share with you another realization that I made, along the years.
In general, people are uncomfortable with silence.
I don’t know if it’s because the world is so animated or because people are bombarded with information coming from all different media sources that their brains can’t stop one second.
Or maybe it’s because silence puts them in a place where they don’t want to be: alone, with themselves only.
Maybe they just don’t want to deal with this.
When I started interviewing people a few years ago, I was very scared of silences.
I thought that it showed that I did not know what to say.
That I was not prepared enough.
That I made my guest feel uncomfortable.
That I was missing a chance to fill this gap with great content or value for my audience.
At that time, silence was stressful.
But let me reassure you.
It should never be.
Silence is a legitimate time to regroup, reflect or think.
It’s the perfect time to reformulate your ideas in your head.
It’s giving you the time to soak the information in.
Let’s go back to my interview with Greg McKeown.
Seriously, I think that I have not made an interview with so many silences.
But it was totally fine.
Silences made a statement throughout the entire interview.
We were talking about living the essentialist lifestyle.
“The continuous pursuit of less.”
The feel of it was congruent with the subject of the interview.
And I assure you, at the end of it, you will feel inspired and filled with the will of becoming an essentialist.
There could be several types of silences.
Some could mean that you don’t care. That you are indifferent.
Some others could just acknowledge that you are right with the person who is talking to you.
It could also mean that you admit a mistake that you’ve done.
Or it could just show that you are filled with strong emotions and that you can’t find the words to describe them.
Owning silences is a quality that you must have if you want to conduct effective interviews.
You have to be able to recognize when silence is a good thing, and when it’s not.
You will be able to identify when you should extend the silence or when you should cut it and move on with your own comments or next question.
Bottom line, silence is an essential part of an interview.
And please, don’t make the mistake to eliminate all silences when editing your interview.
Because sometimes, when you do, you kill its entire essence.
Now, tell me, how do you feel about silences? You like them? You feel uncomfortable with them?