Using the power of silence deliberately along with proper body language can not only turn the tables in your favour but also earn respect from the interviewer. Keeping silent in pressure situations indeed tests the nerves of the party in question.
Let’s say that two men are sitting together and fishing. They can go on without speaking for hours. They might be best friends. It is difficult to imagine the same scenario if it had been women instead of men. Women are more compelled to fill in awkward silences as compared to men who are usually more comfortable in such cases.
How to Gain Mastery on the Power of Silence?
First of all, you must learn to practice this skill set without coming across as being pushy or creepy. Let’s say you are walking towards an elevator. A low risk target can be the elevator guy. Suppose he tells you that it would not be working for the next couple of hours. You simply repeat what he said and turn it into a question. “So, you are saying that the elevator would not be working for the next couple of hours?” Maintain a smile as well as a strong eye contact. You will find that after a few seconds of silence, he would say a yes and provide a reason.
The same tactic can be used in salary negotiation purpose while negotiating a job offer.
Interviewer: “We are expecting to provide a salary within a range of $100,000 – $115, 000 for this position.”
You: “So (pause for 3 seconds) what you are saying is (pause for 2 seconds) you are providing a compensation package within a range of $100,000 – $115, 000?”
Then be silent…..
You will feel the urge to say something but don’t. This is a powerful psychological tactic on how to negotiate salary on your terms.
Keep on looking in the eyes of the interviewer as if everything is normal. After some time, he/ she would usually avert eye contact and offer an explanation. Remember that that party which offers an explanation first loses some ground.
How can You Overcome this Fear?
Do you know that ‘Sedatephobia’ is the fear of silence?
Exposure therapy is the cure of almost any phobia which has been used by therapists for decades. Expose yourself to such sort of fear by practicing on low risk environments such as coffee shops, restaurants etc. and gradually built up to practicing the same in board discussions’, office colleagues and finally during interviews. With gradual practice, it is just a matter of time that you will get very good at this technique. Practicing this skill will indeed stretch your comfort zone and allow you to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.