Inspiration: If human beings don't keep exercising their lips...

If human beings don't keep exercising their lips, their brains start working.—Douglas Adams, author, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Why do we have such trouble with silence?

A caesura is a long pause. The term is mostly used in music and poetry but I first learned about it as a “technique” in sales methodology training. The idea is that extroverts are so uncomfortable with silence that they rush to speak before the other party has finished thinking.

Sales people and other extroverts need to get comfortable with silence. They need to slow down and let the client process information.

Product managers do too.

There are lots of great sources for product ideas but interviews and observations are clearly the preferred method. With observation, you see with your eyes those things that clients won’t mention but drive them crazy.

The key in observation research is to watch (and not talk). You’re not trying to persuade or cajole. You’re trying to see what they do; you’re trying to understand their workflow. Your goal is to understand and describe the persona and their journey based on your observations.

Want to earn credibility with a client? Have the nerve to listen. Perhaps Will Rogers said it best: Never miss a good chance to shut up.