How To Avoid Awkward Silences

The Get The Guy Tour is underway! We’re two events down. I had an incredible time in both Toronto and Winnipeg. However, travelling around and meeting lots of new people outside of these events led me to the topic of today’s video…

From The Video

In travelling, you end up meeting a lot of new people whom you want to have interesting things to talk about with.

I often come across people who struggle with this.

Whenever I think about people who have a hard time getting a conversation going, I think of how they sensor themselves too much; not allowing themselves to say the thing that’s on their mind.

I like to make the comparison with writers and the common problem ‘writer’s block’. Whenever someone experiences this, it’s because the standard for what they want to write is too high.

If it can never be good enough for you, you end up not writing anything.

And how do you get through this to go on to become a better writer? You write more.

Stephen King said “write for the waste paper basket”.

In writing for the trash can you have nothing to worry about, and no expectation to live up to.

I think people have to approach conversation the same way.

If your problem is awkward silences or not being able to keep a conversation going, you have to lower your standards for what comes out of your mouth.

Be prepared to say things other people might think are ridiculous or boring, because as you talk more, you get feedback and learn what’s interesting.

Christopher Hitchens said “self publish, even in conversation”. I love this idea, as with every sentence you’re publishing another thought.

Most people spend their lives self-editing, not self-publishing – which leads to not awkward silences as they’ve edited before they’ve created anything.

I know there will be many conversational situations where you feel you don’t have anything to contribute. Of course the cure for that is to ask questions and to be curious.

People who are intensely curious about life never struggle for conversation.

If you are genuinely interested in something, people will be interested in answering as they will feel your curiosity.

So lower your standard for what you have to say, self-publish liberally, and in the absence of knowing about a subject, ask about it.



My dear brother Stephen, who happens to be an extraordinary writer, has agreed to start writing some articles for this site.

I’m over the moon about it. He co-wrote the Get The Guy book with me, and I’ve been begging him to do this for years. I feel privileged he’s going to contribute to the site, and I know you’re going to fall in love with him.

The first article is going to be live on Wednesday. I hope you’re excited!

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24 Replies to “How To Avoid Awkward Silences”

  • YAY! so excited to read your brother’s stuff! And no way we could forget about you Matt :) well at least not me! lol

    it is Wednesday so is an article coming out today? :D


  • it’s usually the extroverted person that has an issue with silence. as an introvert I feel I enjoy these pauses in conversations because it gives me a chance to think and reflect. sometimes I’m around extroverts and I can’t even process half of what they say. one guy I met was constantly yammering because he said silence freaks him out. to me, that’s sad because I feel there is beauty in silence.

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