On many occasions, when someone asks us a challenging or important question, we tend to respond quickly, but that can make us regret what we have said. Therefore, there is a strategy that entrepreneurs such as Tim Cook, CEO of Apple or Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, put into practice: the ‘rule of awkward silence’.
The concept was developed Justin Bariso, consultant and author of best-seller Applied EQ, a guide to emotional intelligence in the real world, pick up the BBC.
It actually consists of the following: when faced with a challenging question, rather than immediately answering you have to pause and think deeply about what to respond, informs BBC.
It’s called ‘uncomfortable’ because it can last 10, 20 seconds, or even longer, which makes the interlocutor remain puzzled.
Tim Cook is known for his long pauses in conversations. Jeff Bezos, for example, before each meeting is taken a long time reading in silence the reports.
“This rule has always been a valuable tool of emotional intelligence, because it allows you to balance thought and emotion, instead of reacting based only on feelings “, Bariso says.
The BBC collects another example, that of Tim Cook’s predecessor, Steve Jobs, which took 20 seconds at a developer conference in 1997 to respond to someone who said “you don’t know what you’re talking about.” Jobs stood for a few seconds, drank water and said “You know, some people can like you sometimes, but …”. Jobs paused for another 8 seconds and continued. “One of the hardest things when you’re trying to make a difference is, people like this gentleman are right … in some areas.”
According to Bariso, if you apply the ‘rule of awkward silence’, You get benefits like silencing the outside world, exercising your thinking, getting to the root of problems more effectively, giving more thoughtful and profound answers, balancing your emotions, being in harmony with your values and principles, saying what you really want to say and increase your confidence.
However, Bariso admits that there are situations in which the rule can work against you, especially in those in which you are required to respond quickly. However, Bariso believes that they are not so frequent: “Most of the time, taking 10 or 30 seconds before answering won’t hurt you“, dice.