It happens all the time. We suddenly find ourselves in a situation where we have no idea what to say.
It could be during something as simple as a casual conversation, or something more important like a job interview. Either way, the experience tends to be a whole lot of no fun for most people.
But the good news is that there is a simple little social hack we can use in these situations.
Kill it with attention.
The simplest, most reliable, and most honest way to deal with these situations is to bring attention to them.
To literally say out loud what's going on.
This might seem counter-intuitive to some people. After all, calling attention to the fact that we have no idea what to say seems like something that would just make things worse, right?
It might seem like admitting that we don't know what to say might somehow make us look bad. Less confident, or skilled, or interesting, right?
It turns out that when we call attention to a problem - we rid it of a significant amount of awkwardness.
And as an extra bonus, we tend to trigger the other person to want to fix the situation.
You see, the normal human reaction to seeing a problem is to problem-solve, and when the problem is easy to solve - people do it without thinking.
More than that, if the conversation suddenly goes quiet, odds are that the other person is having the exact same problem. And there aren't a lot of things that's going to be a greater relief to them than the fact that you're in it together.
Let’s say you’re on an otherwise fun date and suddenly find yourself without anything to say. At this point, most people freeze, panic, or run away.
But what do you think will happen if you smile, shake your head, and say, “you know what, my mind just went completely blank, I can’t actually think of anything to say!”
Well, I can tell you from both mine and my clients’ experience that most likely your date will laugh, and feel empathy with you (because it happens to them too at times).
More than that, they'll also likely feel more comfortable and trusting with you. Both because you’re being honest and because you obviously have enough confidence to own it when things don’t go perfectly.
So your date will at this point tend to do or say whatever comes to mind to help solve the situation.
They will keep talking, ask a question – or maybe that’s even the moment they realize that kissing doesn’t require talking.
So the next time you don’t know what to do or say, whatever the situation might be, try pointing it out.
The more comfortable you are doing it, the better it will work out. But even if you’re nervous, I guarantee that it’s a better solution than panicking.
Of course, if you'd like some help on creating better conversations where this will happen less, I can help. Check out my video on how to create interesting conversations here. Or my video on everyone's favorite topic of conversation here.
Hi, I'm TJ Guttormsen.
Since 2009 I’ve coached clients ranging from Olympic gold medalists and billionaires, to people who simply want more out life.
I’ve done over 100 national media appearances, published books, and created online courses that have earned several “Highest Rated” titles from their 11 000+ members.
Today I coach clients from all over the world, and teach seminars for business and events from my home in Las Vegas.
Come join me in my Facebook group, follow my Instagram, or subscribe to my YouTube channel for fresh content on a regular basis.