Why Great Leaders Learn To Pause


Business often hinges on the right conversation.

Boardroom presentations, multi-million dollar sales engagements, high pressure conversations with your boss – often what you say and how you say it, can have a massive impact.

It’s why we all read self-improvement books, attend courses and even (when the stakes are really high) practice our words in front of the mirror.

The art of conversation really can be instrumental in success.

Yet great conversation doesn’t always have to mean having something to say all the time. In fact in many cases saying nothing at all can be much more powerful.

In fact in ten years as a recruiter working with many highly successful leaders I’ve noticed that one thing that the highest achievers commonly do is knowing when to pause in speaking with others.

Less can definitely be more.

Here are some reasons why great leaders to pause.


It gathers more information

Master sales people understand the amazing power of the pause.

They know that the best way to keep prospects talking is often to say nothing at all. Try it and see next time you’re in a conversation. Most people are so uncomfortable with silence or so eager to speak at any opportunity that they’ll be more than willing to fill in the gap.

Not only does this make others feel more valued, it also does something perhaps even more important.

It allows us to gather more information.

Great leaders understand that one of the biggest reasons why most transactions go wrong is due to making misassumptions about others.

Whether it’s a complex sales cycle, difficult colleague relationship or dealing with an enraged client, the better information we elicit, the better solutions we can offer.

By using pauses to gather more information we can gather valuable knowledge that most people will commonly miss.

Great leaders gather knowledge.

It allows time to process

Ever say something that you instantly regretted?

Of course you have. Me too.

We’ve all been in situations where our eagerness, emotions or desire to make a strong impression has resulted in saying something that we wish we hadn’t. And in many cases just a simple pause – even a second – can allow us the invaluable processing time to make the right decision.

Great leaders realise that frantic exchange of words can become both stressful and unproductive. By employing correctly inserted pauses, it can allow both us (and others) the time to process what is actually being said and reply in the best way.

Great leaders think before they speak.

It builds greater rapport

Speech is only one form of communication.

Although highly important, sometimes there are more powerful ways to connect with others. In fact, some of our most powerful moments with others – loved ones, friends and mentors – are often those in times of total silence.

Great leaders understand that constant chatter and rushing in to make your next point can often become draining. We become too preoccupied with our words and thinking about what to say next rather than take the time to enjoy each other’s company – looking at the other person, conveying our emotion and making the other person feel comfortable.

By using the power of well constructed pauses, we can use greater tools of communication to connect deeper with others and build relationships that are indestructible.

Silence really can be golden.


Knowing the right words to use is obviously important.

But sometimes nothing can be more effective than a rightly timed pause.

Successful leaders ensure that in the frantic paced journey that is life, they learn how to press pause so that everything gets a chance to sink in.

Do you take time to pause………………………..?

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