Discover the power of silence and learn why should you always say less than necessary. Let me tell you something essential: sometimes, less is more. That’s right, when it comes to communication, saying less can be more powerful than rambling on and on.
So, if you want to deliver a lasting impression and get your point across, you must learn how to use silence to your advantage. This guide breaks down the necessary details of this 4th law in 48 Laws of Power.
Trust me, this is a game-changer. So, what are you waiting for? Dive into our guide and start unlocking the benefits of keeping it short and sweet today!
Always Say Less Than Necessary Meaning
Based on Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power, this Law #4 is summarized in this:
When trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear and the less in control. Even if you say something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.
So what does it mean? A person who can’t keep their mouth shut can’t keep their act together, and they’re not worthy of respect. Power is not just about what you do. It’s about how you present yourself. Saying less than necessary can make you look more powerful than you really are.
Your silence can make other people nervous, but that’s because they don’t know what’s on your mind. Humans always trying to figure out what’s up, but if you keep them in the dark, they can’t handle you. Control what you say, and you control the game.
When you give short, tight answers and stay quiet, it puts others on edge. They get nervous and start babbling, revealing all their weak points. They’ll leave the meeting feeling like you just stripped them of everything, going home to analyze every word you said.
And that will only make you more powerful because they’ll hang on to every word you say. Keep them guessing and on edge, and you’ll come out on top every time. As visual artist, Andy Warhol, stated:
You actually have more power when you shut up.
When you don’t say more than you have, it makes you look like you got it all together, like you have absolute power. Plus, the less you say, the less chance you got of putting your foot in your mouth and saying something you shouldn’t.
Once words are out, they’re out for good. So keep them in check, keep them under control. And watch out for that sarcasm, too. Getting all the laughs might feel good at the moment. But the cost is not worth it. That price tag might be heavy. So hold your tongue, be careful with your words, and save yourself a world of trouble.
When you’re with your subordinates, don’t start talking before they do. The longer you keep quiet, the sooner they’ll move their mouth. And that’s when you can begin to see what they’re up to. If you stay silent, you can get an authentic look at their true intentions. This tactic will help you stay ahead of the game, always one step ahead of the rest
Imagine the Oracle of Delphi. In ancient times, when people went to see the Oracle, the priestess would lay down a few words that seemed like they held all the world’s secrets. Nobody dared to disobey her because her words had the immense power of life and death, and everyone knew it.
Should You Always Say Less Than Necessary?
Sometimes, there are better moves than keeping quiet. You might come off like you have something to hide. And sometimes, a vague comment can lead to misunderstandings you don’t see coming. You must be careful with that silence and know when to hold back.
Sometimes, it’s better to be like the court jester, you know? Talking a mile a minute, cracking jokes, and keeping others entertained. Nobody suspects that you’re more than just a fool. You play the game, but you play it smart.
Sometimes, words can be your cover or smokescreen. You hit others with a lot of talk; before they know it, they’re all distracted. The more you talk, the less they suspect you of anything shady. In fact, talkative people are seen as harmless and unsophisticated, not sly and manipulative like the quiet types.
It’s the opposite of what the powerful people do. They stay silent and come off strong and intelligent. But if you want to practice deception, talk more, seem weaker, and they’ll never see it coming.
Always Say Less Than Necessary Examples
The book contains a lot of examples of this law, but this one story captures its essence:
Back in 1825, Nicholas I became the new czar of Russia. However, some people weren’t too happy about it and started a rebellion. They wanted the country to modernize and catch up with the rest of Europe, but Nicholas was against it.
He crushed that rebellion hard and even sentenced one of the leaders, Kondraty Ryleyev, to death. But when Ryleyev was up on the gallows, the rope broke, and he survived. He was all like, “See? They can’t even make a decent rope in Russia!”
Word got back to Nicholas I, who was about to pardon Ryleyev – but then he heard what he said. And that was it. Nicholas tore up the pardon and had Ryleyev hanged again the next day. This time, the rope held up just fine.