“The one who knows much says little.”
– Proverbs 17:27
I was watching my grandson play a video game the other day, and I noticed that periodically, in anticipation of whatever trouble his player is about to confront, he will pause the game and select a new batch of appropriate weapons.
Good leaders function in much the same way. New challenge ahead? Check the arsenal and choose your best tools.
Let’s take a moment to look at one of the more valuable items in your bag of tricks: impact.
From a management standpoint, I define impact as the impression made by a leader. Like a meteor landing, this impression can be deep and lasting or shallow and fleeting.
Prefer to land on the deep side? Remind yourself that less is more.
When speaking, stop before expected—and stop cold. Make your key point, and then go silent. People don’t expect this, so it grabs their attention. And in the silence, your brilliant and succinct point rings in the air, because you haven’t muddied it up with extra words.
Contrast this against the speaker who makes (what should be) a great final point, then repeats it 3 times. It becomes like a joke that has to be explained. All impact is lost.
You can test another tried-and-true way to make a positive impact the next time you attend a networking event. If you’re on top of your game and the evening’s a smashing success, say your goodbyes.
Leave early, and leave a positive impression.
Try your own experiment: At your team’s next meeting, try to keep quiet. Listen carefully and ask clarifying questions when necessary, but make no statements. Then, as things get quiet and are about to end, say your piece, terse and pithy. Then go silent.
The reaction will make your impact clear.
I can think of so many people in my professional life that just don’t get the less is more rule. How many meetings have I been in that one or two people go on and on and on….. ? The rest of the room is lost and everyone is looking for ways to get out of the room as quick as possible; rendering the whole exercise a waste of time. I’m going to focus on the experiment here and try to change the behavior in these meetings. Thanks!
I can’t tell you how many of my clients have responded in just the same way. I hope you have good luck with this tool. Thanks for your comment!
Good thoughts and I have seen you practice what you preach and it works. Thoughtful links also.
Thank you! It’s true that I often make use of this myself – particularly the Go Silent suggestion. I love watching the impact take hold as the words sink in. And best of all, by limiting what I say, I tend to listen better and learn much more.