Awkward Silence: Is It Your Job to Fill It?

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Picture this: You’ve just given your colleagues a status update about something you’re working on and then… 

*Crickets* – an awkward silence.

You think to yourself: 

➡️ Should I keep talking?

➡️ Do I ask a question?

➡️ Who is responsible for continuing to fill the noise?

As women, we often take on the responsibility of making sure others feel comfortable in social situations. So, if we sense there’s an awkward silence, we’re often quick to fill it.

The question is: Is it really our job to fill these silences? And if we want to stop filling them for the sake of filling them, is there another strategy we can use to move conversations forward?

Watch this 1-minute video to learn my philosophy on “awkward silences” and a helpful strategy for moving the conversation forward.

👉 Pro Tip: Let go of the impulse to fill silences for the sake of ‘taking care of other people’s discomfort with silence’ and instead:

  1. Let there be silence!
  2. Or, move the conversation forward by “passing the ball.”

And when I say “pass the ball,” I mean: When you get to the end of your final sentence, toss the proverbial mic to someone else in the room by asking:

“Any questions about this?” 

“Does anyone have any ideas about how to handle X aspect of this?” 

“Brianna, would you like to add anything here?” 

When you “pass the ball” on purpose, you take the pressure off of yourself to fill the inevitable silence, and instead, you move the conversation along.

👉 Pro Tip: Make sure you come to full stops.

By taking a silent beat without barreling through filler words or rambling, you gift yourself- and your audience- with a conversational breather. Not an awkward silence.

When you practice pausing on purpose, you’re using silence as a helpful processing tool. You’re giving yourself time to think about what you want to say next AND you’re helping your listener(s) synthesize the information you just shared.

The more you come to full stops when you speak, the less awkward you’ll feel about silences over time, AND the less pressure you’ll feel to fill those silences, when they’re not your job to fill! 

Want to learn more concrete tips for navigating awkward or nerve-wracking aspects of day-to-day communications? 

Click here to check out The Confident Communicator, our online signature course, open for enrollment today!

Inside this course, you’ll learn how to: 

  • dial down speaking anxiety with practical, science-backed techniques
  • assess your own communication style, so you can pinpoint which habits serve vs. undercut you
  • embody the qualities you want others to see in you—without faking or forcing anything
  • articulate yourself in a clearer, more engaging and “tailorable” way
  • build presentations in half the time, but with double the impact

So click here to learn more and enroll in The Confident Communicator today! 

When you join, you’ll also get 4 bonus coaching calls with me, so we can dig into your burning questions, role-play real-world situations, and get you speaking with more clarity and conviction than ever before!

Take it from Confident Communicator graduate, Emily!

“Before, I felt like I was never able to fully articulate my message the way I REALLY wanted to. But now, I have so many amazing tools, tips and frameworks to use! It’s a really beautiful feeling to finally be able to articulate my thoughts with confidence the way I’ve always longed to.”

Whether you decide to join The Confident Communicator or not, please remember: even though it might seem like everyone else is calm, cool, and collected on the outside, we all deal with some form of speaking anxiety on the inside! You’re never alone in those feelings, and we’re always here to support you as you work with and through them ✨

In your corner,

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