“Oysters open completely when the moon is full; and when the crab sees one it throws a piece of stone or seaweed into it and the oyster cannot close again so it serves the crab for meat. Such is the fate of him who opens his mouth too much and thereby puts himself at the mercy of his listener.”
— Leonardo da Vinchi
Many businessmen and businesswomen struggle to control their tongues.
We have a habit of talking our way out of success, money and good fortune — unintentionally.
We get a cup of coffee in us, riding a caffeine wave during the morning board meeting, get excited on a subject and start talking; before we know it, we have said too much.
And when we say too much, we sound foolish.
An individual who lacks the ability to control their tongue, lacks the ability to control themselves, and in turn is unworthy of society’s respect.
When you speak, say less –– leaving your listener not only pondering the words that were spoken, but the words that were not.
Often, the Most Powerful People in the Room Are the Most Quiet
“The human tongue is a beast that few can master. It strains constantly to break out of its cage, and if it is not tamed, it will run wild and cause you grief. Power cannot accrue to those who squander their treasure of words.”
— Robert Greene
The 3 Laws of Silence & Power
- Listen to everything your customers and colleagues say. Do not just listen to their words, listen to their facial expressions, their gestures and their tone of voice. Listen to their emotions.
- Never speak until you know exactly what it is you are going to say — especially in business. In the cutthroat world of business, there is no room for spewing bullshit. When you speak, say something, add value to the conversation.
- Strive to be the individual that causes the room to fall silent when you open your mouth. Speak like a copywriter — great copywriters write efficiently, concise and beautifully. Speak like a copywriter.
If it is power and respect you are after, speak less.
By Cole Schafer.
Cole is the copy chief at Honey Copy, where he helps startups make more money through emails and landing pages that read like poetry and sell like Ogilvy. When he isn’t slinging copy, he is right here on Medium sharing ideas about life, business and marketing. Or riding alpacas.