10 Times When You Should Say Nothing At All
Be Wise and Keep Quiet
There are times when people should be wise enough to keep quiet. According to Proverbs 17:28 in the New International Version of the Bible, "Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." According to the King James Version of the Bible, "Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding."
Both versions of the same scripture is clear that a person is considered wise if he remains silent. However, the world thinks the opposite. They speak because they think it is wise to do so.
Abraham Lincoln put it in his own words by saying, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt."
Silence is Golden
Since silence is golden, many other well-known people have given advice about remaining silent. Some examples dating back to 1887 have been collected about keeping silent. They are included in “Proverbs, Maxims, and Phrases of All Ages.” The wording is different but the message is the same.
- "Silence is the virtue of those who are not wise."
- "Silence is wisdom and gets a man friends."
- "Silence is wisdom when speaking is folly."
Mute Your Mouth
Advice from the Bible and from well-known people has something in common. They all advise silence over speaking in certain situations.
They agree that there are times when everyone should mute their mouths and not say anything. Whether they are in a meeting, at a family reunion, or in general conversation with a group of people, everyone should know when to keep quiet and when to speak. Taking that advice will make for a much more pleasant experience for everyone involved.
1. Don't Barge in on Conversations
Keep quiet when those around you are already engaged in a conversation and you walk up. Resist the temptation to barge in with your thoughts. You have not heard what was said before you arrived. If you offer your input, it must be something that has already been covered.
2. Respect What Others Have to Say
Keep quiet when others are explaining their viewpoints. It is rude to jump in when someone else is explaining their personal opinions about something.
Wait until it is your turn to speak and let others have their turn. Give others the same respect that you want when you are talking.
3. Stop Correcting People's Opinion
It is very tempting to correct people on something you do not agree about. You should keep quiet because you don't have to agree with everything people say. They have the right to speak their opinion just like you do. Besides, what you say might be something that others don't agree with either.
4. Don't Chime in with Your Opinions
Please keep quiet when you don't know what others are talking about. If they are talking about their favorite movie and the parts they liked the best, it would be unwise to chime in with your opinions when you have not seen the movie.
You are not entitled to an opinion in other people's conversation when you are ignorant about a situation. Do not speak about a subject that you don’t know the facts.
5. Stop bragging
Some people like to brag about something. If someone in the group said he went on vacation to Hawaii for a week, there is no need to say you went to Bora Bora for a month. You should refrain from trying to top everything someone else has done.
6. Resist Talking about Yourself
Keep quiet when you find yourself talking about yourself instead of the issue at hand. There are some people who put themselves into every conversation. No matter what the group is talking about, the subject tends to turn to them instead of the initial theme of the conversation.
7. Give Others a Chance to Speak
Let others express their thoughts even though you know the answer to the questions. You find this example in Bible study. When the facilitator is explaining something, the pastors and other leaders tend to do more talking than the lay people.
Church leaders should let lay people share their thoughts. Leaders who know the answers should step back and let others answer the questions.
8. Watch Signs to Be Quiet
Watch the signs and know when others want you to shut up. Often people know who in the group will try to take over. They use various tactics to get the person to be quiet. They show a lack of interest in their body language and by doodling or bowing their heads or showing other signs that the person speaking should be quiet and listen.
9. Don't Provide Unrelated Information
Be quiet after you have said something profound. Do not continue piling on more unrelated and less important information. Say the main thing and then be quiet. Let what you have said resonate with your listeners.
10. Stop Wasting Time
You don't have to give the last word in every conversation. Once the conversation has ended, stop starting it up again. When you do that, you waste people's time and patience.