When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the less in control you appear. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague and open-ended. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

If people don’t know what you’re saying let alone thinking, they can never predict your next move.


People will use your words against you. Through exemplifying taciturnity you will increase your potential to gain power and control over your situations. People will have less to say about you, thus less to use against you.

Imagine if more of us applied that lesson to our lives. Imagine if we could be silent for one minute and let the other person talk? How much information could we learn? From a human behavior perspective, people are generally afraid to hear pauses in conversations. People associate pauses in conversation with “awkwardness”, it makes them uncomfortable. If you get easily uncomfortable and awkward then that’s going to be a issue. You’re probably going to be nervously talking to fill the silence as you reveal information.

I would encourage you to try this. Experiment with being quiet and letting a long pause in a conversation go on. Most are too afraid of that void, so they attempt to quickly fill it with nervous empty words. BUT, if you can sit back for 10 seconds and confidently pause, reflect and think as you watch the other person stammer for words than you may not only learn more, but become more comfortable with yourself.

Power is in many ways a game of appearances and when you say less than necessary, you inevitably appear greater and more powerful then you are. Your silence will make other people uncomfortable. Humans are machines of interpretation and explanation; they have to know what you are thinking. When you carefully control what you reveal, they cannot pierce your intentions or your meaning.

Your short answers and silences will put them on the defensive, and they will jump in nervously filling the silence with all kinds of comments that will reveal valuable information about them and their weaknesses.

They will leave a meeting with you feeling as if they had been robbed, and they will go home to ponder your every word. This extra attention to your brief comments will only add to your power. Saying less than necessary is not for kings and statesmen only. In most areas of life the less you say, the more profound and mysterious you appear.