Depeche Mode on effective business communication


Communication happens in the silence.

During a relaxed conversation between two friends there tends to be a surprising amount of it. Most of us don’t notice this because it is automatic and natural, but it’s there.

As a listener, during these periods of intermittent silence, we reflect on what’s just been said and respond verbally or non-verbally. Sometimes this takes a moment – for others, a little longer. The response by the listener, usually a nod or “yes”, confirms to the speaker that their message has landed – communication has been successful.

For effective business (or personal) communication, we need silence.

We need it for two reasons: (1) to give the listener chance to digest/remember/respond to the message and (2) to allow the speaker to think before they speak, not as they speak. Silence, unfortunately, is a victim that suffers in dull presentations, lengthy conference calls and verbose meetings. This is usually because people find silence uncomfortable and don’t understand how vital it is for effective communication.

The impact of not enough silence is twofold. Firstly, people struggle to remember and recall key messages because they weren’t given sufficient time to digest them. And, secondly, communication moves from being a two-way game (like relaxed conversation with a friend usually is) to being a one-way transmission. Most people have sat through a one-way “continuous stream of consciousness” presentation, otherwise known as “the scenic route”. It is no fun.

Whilst I suspect Depeche Mode didn’t have more effective communication in mind when writing this track, the lyrics correspond nicely.

Words like violence
Break the silence.
Words are very unnecessary,
They can only do harm.
Enjoy the silence.


Click here for an example of using silence effectively.