194 - Enjoying the Silence

Episode: 194

Episode Title: Enjoying the Silence

Enjoy the silence—that doesn’t sound like a negotiation technique, but it is. Find out how to use silence to reach a mutually beneficial outcome, coming up next on the Syndicate.


Ep 194 show:

Hi, I’m Mark Perna and this is The Perna Syndicate! Salary negotiation doesn’t have to be stressful; in fact, you can approach it with confidence. If you’re just joining us now, this has been our topic all week and we’ve covered several strategies to take the stress out of this experience. 


Today, I want to talk about a lesser-known strategy that I call “enjoy the silence.” Most of us feel awkward if we’re interacting with someone we don’t know well and there’s, well, a pause in the conversation. In general, we tend to break awkward silences by speaking up. 


But a study out of MIT found that when both sides of a negotiation pause their talking for just a few seconds, they can arrive at mutually beneficial results. The researchers, who studied a sample of 254 students, showed that silence helped the participants to, in their words, “shift from default, zero-sum thinking to a more reflective, deliberative mindset, which in turn is likely to lead to the recognition of golden opportunities to expand the pie.”


It’s okay to ask for a moment to reflect, and that moment can also help the other party regroup their thoughts. However, don’t go silent without communicating about it beforehand. For example, if you’re emailing or messaging the recruiter about salary, it’s best to let the other party know you want some time and space before you pick up the conversation again. That way, they know what to expect and you’re able to take the time you need to make the best decision. 


So enjoy the silence—and the benefits it can bring to the salary conversation. 


What should you do when negotiations don’t produce the result you wanted? Tomorrow, we’ll wrap up the week with some thoughts on this topic. See you then! 

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