No one enjoys “uncomfortable” conversations. Be it personnel issues, resource allocation or product direction.
But since we are intimately familiar with our own formulations, the goal of these discussions should be to extract from the other party additional information or an agreement to a certain position. To have them say/commit to more than they were initially willing to.
And there is no tool more powerful in the conversational arsenal than shutting the hell up.
It takes only a single beat of bizarre quiet to make the awkward conversation that much more so. And it works 100% of the time.
When faced with this silence I have yet to come across a person who does not continue just filling it with additional data.
More information. More agreements. No downside.
Next time you’re in a tense discussion, be it personal or business, try this simple little trick.