Good negotiation and good public speaking are very similar in a lot of ways. And it’s probably easiest to describe dramatic pause by relating it to good public speaking. Ever seen Barack Obama speak? Barack Obama is a master of the dramatic pause. I don’t care what you think about him or his policies, but that man knows how to create dramatic effect in a speech. He controls his speeches with incredible ease and draws his audience in to every word he is saying. When you pause in a speech you cause the audience to lean in, listen and you create anticipation for the next thing you’re about to say. The same thing is true in negotiation.
Using the dramatic pause in negotiation creates a few unique opportunities:
It Creates Connection
The pause isn’t just blank space where sound is meant to be, it’s a skill/tool. And when you use the skill/tool well, you create space for the other party to emotionally and intellectually connect with what you are saying. And as much as many would like to have you believe, the use of emotion in a negotiation is powerful. You know hen someone leans in and is waiting for your next line to land, you control the discussion.
It Forces You to Slow Down
The other great thing about implementing the dramatic pause in your negotiations is that it forces you to slow down and to reflect on what you’re saying and what you’re about to say. So many of us get nervous in negotiations and as a result our speech pattern speeds up and we fly through things that we should be taking our time on. Well, the dramatic pause helps you to combat that and forces you to slow the conversation down. And if you can slow the conversation down, you can control the pace of the discussion.
It Creates the Perception of Confidence
As I always say, perception is everything in negotiation! If the other party perceives confidence, the likelihood of you being more successful in a negotiation is significantly higher than if you’re viewed as unsure. Sales people and procurement people alike pounce on weakness. They’re like jackals writing for the weak deer in the herd to reveal itself. And when the deer does, they pounce. Whether you agree with this or not doesn’t mean that it’s not true. Dramatic pause in negotiation forces you to slow down and maintain control of your speech pattern. That control comes off as confidence. That confidence leads to a higher probability of success.
Dramatic pause in negotiation can elicit incredible results, not the least of which are the creation of connection, forcing you to slow down and the creation of the perception of confidence. But for me, I just love how cool it looks when you can pull it off well.