Know when to remain Silent in Meetings

Have you ever regretted after you have spoken something off-topic in a meeting?

In my previous article, “Know when to speak in meetings?”, I wrote about how you should voice your thoughts and opinions during meetings. However, practicing silence can be key as well, especially when you are uncertain of what to say or saying it can do more harm than good. Sometimes, certain situations require you to hold back your opinions. I navigate you through those situations where staying quiet at times can prove more beneficial.

Here are some valuable tips on when you should not speak in a meeting.

It doesn’t make sense

  • Speaking merely to show off how much you know will fail to create a lasting good impression. In such scenarios, it is wise to choose silence and reflect on the possible consequences of your words.
  • Allow conversations to naturally progress and wait patiently for your time to come. An attempt to interrupt the flow of discussions could backfire on your intentions.

You want to empower team members

  • Prompting answers to your teammates in a meeting may unknowingly obstruct their flow of thought and prevent them from expressing their views. No matter how tempting it may seem, kindly stop yourself from doing this.
  • Leadership is about encouraging others to find their own solution. Hence, allowing them to speak up in their normal course will build up their confidence.

Some conversations are better off one-to-one basis

  • Discussing difficult topics in a group can offend or get people on defensive mode. Such sensitive issues can be better addressed or solved in private.
  • This also applies to email trails. Ask yourself, ‘Can this be better off if sent privately?’ before hitting the reply all button.

I share a tactic I regularly utilize in meetings. Whenever futile topics are being discussed, I resort to passive listening by writing down ‘patience and listen’ in my diary. This technique has helped me remain patient and reticent when necessary.

Knowing appropriately when to remain silent in meetings will add to your credibility and build your trust among your colleagues. This skillful tact will greatly help you take others along with you and make advances in your career.