Four Seconds: The Silent Treatment As Negotiation

Four Seconds: The Silent Treatment As Negotiation

Awkward silences have many uses. It can be used to convey power, to exert influence over the other, and to keep the other person in uncertainty. Silence, according to studies, starts to feel unbearable after four seconds.

Often, life’s cringeworthy moments are unscripted and unpredictable, with the pinch being in the ‘unknowable’ aspects.

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Communication

MORE IDEAS FROM THE ARTICLE

  • Many CEOs and entrepreneurs know that being comfortable with uncertainty and awkward silence can be a superpower.
  • Candidates negotiating for their salary can use this superpower of being silent (and giving out no non-verbal information too) when the initial job offer is doled out to them, as the starting salary initially offered is rarely the higher bracket.
  • If one is able to manage the discomfort with ease, silence can be used to great effect without being confrontational.
  • Silence, when used strategically and intentionally, can help negotiate great deals and generate new ideas.
  • Prolonged silence can make others feel anxious, uncertain, less self-assured and even rejected, and the silent treatment hurts them more than any words could.
  • In a social setting, any challenging situation starts to appear worse when we encounter silence, and various studies attribute a ‘four-second’ time barrier for silence to become unbearable.

Being comfortable with silence makes us more powerful, contrary to popular perception.

Silence can be injected in a conversation to heighten the impact of the words and make the other person act according to our will.

A psychological study looked into the need for closure of individuals, and how bothered people are when they are faced with disorder, chaos, lack of information and lack of resolution.

It concluded that our personality traits make us crave for closure, with people who like tidiness, orderliness and resolution desiring closure more than the ones who are okay with things being incomplete and messy.

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