One of the most helpful things I’ve been taught as an improviser is that silence can be a useful tool. As with any tool, certain situations call for it, and certain situations don’t… but most of the time, silence is NOT an emergency.
As an improviser, silence can be used as a tool to help a joke land, or give a character an honest/natural reaction to something surprising. It can help sell tension & heighten the drama of whatever is happening in your made up world.
As an entrepreneur the same rules follow: as long as you are listening & reading the room, you can afford to be patient. No need to jump the gun or rush to a joke- silence isn’t an emergency. Just wait. Breathe. Make eye contact. Be confident. Let silence play its role in whatever you’re doing.
Silence has a job just like you do. Its job may be to give your mentor, investor or whoever your silent partner is, a moment to collect her/his thoughts, or to phrase their feedback in the most helpful way possible, or to fully connect with the brilliant idea you just presented. Your job is to not get in the way when silence is doing its thing.
If you jump in, you’ve robbed silence of the opportunity to do its job. It doesn’t like when you do that. There are usually consequences: like sounding foolish or rude or insecure. Silence is like your neighbor’s pit bull- if you feel threatened by it, you may just need to get to know it better.