This is a funny little article about when to keep your mouth shut. We thought this might benefit a few of you 🙂

You’ve probably read before about the key phrases that greatest leaders say every day.

But great leaders are also wise when it comes to the opposite strategy: Sometimes, the smartest thing to say is nothing at all. I’m not referring here simply to the advice your mother might have given you about keeping your mouth shut if you don’t have anything nice to say. Instead, think of the big moments when people come close to achieving goals, accomplishing great things, or even just developing good relationships and encouraging people to like them more. Sometimes, a simple slip of the tongue can set them back and destroy all they’ve worked for. It’s the same issue whether we’re talking about negotiations, investigations, or plain old conversations. So, in the interest of preventing us from wishing wistfully that our mouths had been on Mute, here are 10 times when the sounds of silence are the best sounds of all.

1. When the other side in a negotiation starts debating against itself.
Sometimes people get into a spiral of bad negotiating tactics. They wind up outsmarting themselves–perhaps making an offer and then rejecting their own offer because they think you won’t take it. Imagine a customer who opens a conversation by saying that he understands you can’t cut the price on your product before asking for some smaller concession–and then maybe even convincing himself that even that’s too much to ask for.
For a fun, extreme example of this in action, see this video from The Princess Bride. Often your best move in that situation is to keep your mouth shut and simply stay out of their way.

2. When you’ve asked a question.
We all know these people, right? They ask questions but can’t wait for you to finish so they can offer their own viewpoint. Sometimes they don’t even bother waiting and instead try to hurry you along with verbal cues–“uh-huh, uh-huh, right, right, right…” When they asked for advice, what they really meant was, “Let’s fast-forward to the part where I tell you what I think, instead.” Don’t be like them. To paraphrase baseball great Yogi Berra, you can observe a lot by watching, and you can also learn a lot by listening.

3. When the other side misunderstands (and you don’t have a duty to talk).
A lawyer once told me about selling a client’s company. To make a long story short (lawyers love that phrase), the negotiation went much more smoothly than she’d expected. Eventually, she realized this was because some whiz-kid M.B.A. on the other side of the table had made a simple math error. That led him to overestimate vastly how much money the acquiring company would likely make after the deal was done.
The lawyer was overcome with apprehension, until she realized the right thing to say: nothing at all. That way, she wouldn’t be breaching her duty not to misrepresent facts to the buyer, but she also wouldn’t do anything to scuttle her client’s deal. The moral of the story is that you don’t always have an obligation to correct someone else’s mistakes.

Read the full article here: