This quote attracted my attention, probably because I recently posted a Calvin Coolidge quote touching on a similar theme (here). While poking around the ol’ Interweb I found a Tom Evslin post on negotiation (here) that conveys just how well silence can reinforce the few words you do say. I particularly like the way Tom transitions to the start of the negotiation itself:
We didn’t apologize for keeping them waiting. Mr. Oak [Tom’s negotiation mentor’s pseudonym] didn’t ask how they were hitting them or about their wives and families. He instructed me to read the list of offences which I did. When I finished, they started to read the list of our offences which Mr. Oak hadn’t let me prepare for.
“That’s irrelevant,” Mr. Oak said. On his desk under a plastic sheet he kept lists of words. They were in columns of harsh, strong, and mild. For example, “fight”, “argue”, “discuss”. Lesson #10: Choose your few words carefully.
Also, isn’t that great advice about the lists of words? I’ll have to work that into my commonplace book.