Silence – The Power of the Pause…

Chris Lema

I’m an extrovert. I like to talk. Silence isn’t natural to me. I think my opinions and ideas are important. But this can really be a challenge or obstacle if you’re selling. Now truth be told – I’ve never held a role with the title that has “Sales” in the name.  But as a person who has started up a couple companies and launched a ton of software products, I’m always selling.  In other words, I’ve learned the hard way that talking can hurt more than help. So here are three moments that a strategic pause (a proactive choice for silence) can help you.

Pause when Telling a Story

Every time you talk with people, but especially if you’re introducing them to a new product, make sure that the story you’re telling has room for a strategic pause. That little moment of silence between your “paragraphs” so that someone can step in and ask a question. If people aren’t tracking with you, you want to know early – not after 25 minutes of non-stop talking. So as I’m telling clients a story about a client pain, or a lesson learned, I often pause and ask a reflection question like, “Does that make sense?” or “Does that match up with your experience?” This helps me keep the story on track and know that my audience is engaged. Want to know more about storytelling in business, check out this new book, Tell to Win.

Silence before the Quote

This past week at work I was speaking with a client about the cost of a project and when he asked me directly what it was going to cost, I paused. I just waited. I thought about  a lot of stuff, but mostly I just let silence do the work for me. I don’t want to negotiate with myself, so if I reply with a number before I learn more about what he can and wants to pay, I’m leaving money on the table. That pause – this time about 8 seconds – was all that was needed for him to ask me, “Well, can we get it for $50,000?” I can’t express the joy I had – knowing that our folks had been thinking $25,000. That’s right – a pause can earn you $25,000 in 8 seconds. Do the math – if you pause for a few minutes, or hours, you could get rich with silence! :)

Before you Say the Wrong Thing

We’ve all had those moments where we were so excited we started talking before we thought twice about it. Today I was on two different calls where staff were so excited to share news that they started talking about something before ever asking themselves if it was strategic to share it. Not everything you know needs to be shared! Take a second before answering a question, or before telling a story, and pause. That little extra second of silence can help you ask if it’s something that fits within the overall strategy of your conversation. If it is, share away. If it’s not, that little pause can protect you.

So those are my three places where a litte silence can go a long way. How do you use silence strategically?

Powered by the Rainmaker Platform

The Rainmaker Platform by Copyblogger Media is the complete website solution for building your own online marketing and sales platform. In short, it makes the technology part of running an online business simple so that online marketers and business owners can focus on building audiences and growing businesses.

Start your free 14-day trial

Join more than 5,000 others

My posts. Your inbox. Beautiful.


  1. KimGreenAtlanta says:

    Excellent points!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


I regularly schedule calls to answer your questions using
a service where you only pay per minute.

call me
  • People don’t fully grasp how strategic Chris is. I love that about him and count on it all the time.

    Karim Marucchi
  • Chris often breaks paradigms and has me rethinking the way I approach my business.

    Jeff Zinn
  • Chris always gives me something to think about – a new lens through which to examine my business.

    Lucy Beer
  • Chris’s advice has helped me to make better decisions about my business, and manage my clients better.

    Natalie MacLees
  • Chris has been a source of wisdom and insight in business and product strategy, startups, entrepreneurship, and more.

    Austin Gunter
  • Chris is one of those rare people who can take a difficult subject and make it easy to learn and remember.

    Dave Jesch
  • Chris has a heart of gold and is willing to reach out and help. He has helped me in several ways both in WordPress coding and consulting with me on my business. He has been a blessing in my life and look forward to a long friendship with him.

    Gregg Franklin
  • Chris Lema always drops knowledge bombs that makes me think about how I can evolve my WordPress-powered business. Even more valuable is that he does it in a way that makes drastic change seem achievable.

    Chris Ford
  • Whether it's product strategy or a question about which plugin to use, I know Chris will get me an answer faster than anyone else.

    Steve Zehngut
  • Chris is a great mentor, instructor and friend. He fills all these roles with a down to earth style and ease that actually encourages you to believe that success is within your grasp.

    Alex Vasquez