Silence can be useful in negotiations.
Someone once said what I didn’t say in my letters was more important than what I did say. They were obviously reading my silent message in the blanks between the lines.
Here is a good example of how to use silence from David Mamet’s play, Glenngary Glen Ross:
Now I handed
them the pen. I held it in my hand.
I turned the contract, eight units
eighty-two grand. “Now I want you
I sat there. Five minutes. Then,
I sat there, Ricky, twenty-two
minutes by the kitchen clock.
Twenty-two minutes by the kitchen
clock. Not a word, not a motion.
I have seen clients reject reasonable proposals, not for the message, but for the way in which the message is delivered. It is better if you can help the other side, opposing counsel, a judge or a jury come to the right conclusion on their own rather than telling them what it is. These limericks will show you what I mean.
“There once was a poet from Peru,
Whose limericks ended at line two.”
“There once was a poet from Verdun…”