A post on Twitter by Petteri Tarkkonen reminded me of the value of silence. Tarkkonen said, “Silence is sometimes the answer.”
That brief quote serves as a simple guide for managing partners (and others in CPA firms).
I usually have to work to get ALL partners to speak up when I am facilitating partner retreats.
However, there are also some who simply talk too much. It is usually just one partner. They feel the need to express lengthy comments on almost every item on the retreat agenda. The other partners usually roll their eyes. That’s the value of having an outside facilitator who is experienced with silencing those partners who are simply too opinionated.
An important part of listening is being silent. Often, if you will just keep silent when people are asking you a question, they will answer it themselves.
Silence can also save you from making a poor decision. When someone unexpectedly confronts you in the hallway and demands an answer (or decision) on a particular topic. Simply be quiet for a few seconds and reply, “I’ll get back to you on that.” Then, be sure to get back to them within a reasonable amount of time.