To Influence, Think White Space, Not White Noise

To influence, think white space, not white noise

Just as visual white space designed into documents and slides is a very good thing, so is verbal white space in meetings, presentations and conversations.

Visual white space allows the content to breathe and to be digested without cognitive strain.

Verbal white space does exactly the same.

Ideas and solutions need room to be conjured up, and to be heard. White space in this sense could be seen as a metaphor for communication opportunities.

How often do we get white noise instead? It’s everywhere nowadays! So much certainty, so much content being churned out. It’s relentless. And it’s hard on our brains. Cognitive load can equal strain, and loss of understanding, meaning and retention.

With so many words, underlying signals are lost – and so are the opportunities. Particularly when we need to convince or persuade. Sometimes our need or focus on persuading the listener means that we say too much. (For 8 reasons speakers can say too much when trying to convince, go here.)

So whether you’re running a meeting, or speaking or presenting at one: think white space, not white noise, and see how much new understanding can be forged.

Best wishes with your speaking and presentations!

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