Sometimes, Holding Your Tongue Takes Courage

When we talk about “fear” in conversations, leading teams, or presentations, we usually think in terms of fear of public speaking. But something we don’t often consider is the confidence it takes to hold back and keep our mouths shut.

Many people want to be part of the conversation, be perceived as a leader, or show they deserve a place at the table. As a result, they can sometimes be too enthusiastic about joining in – even when they don’t have much to contribute.

I once worked with a rather insecure client who desperately wanted everyone to know he deserved to be the leader. As a result, he injected himself into every conversation and had to share his opinion about everything.

But that strategy worked in the opposite direction. Rather than look at him as an authoritative leader (like he hoped we would), he drove everyone crazy, and they lost all respect.

If you’re concerned about being perceived with respect – injecting yourself into or trying to become the center of every conversation won’t help.

A better strategy would be to hold back and wait until you really have something significant to share.

Because anytime you bring real value to the table, people will notice.

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This article originally appeared on and is reposted here by permission.

Phil Cooke
Phil Cooke

Phil Cooke is a filmmaker, media consultant and founder of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles, California. His latest book is Ideas on a Deadline: How to Be Creative When the Clock is Ticking. Find out more at