Calvin Coolidge’s Strategy of Silence

Calvin Coolidge

President Calvin Coolidge was famous for being a man of few words. This was not just a personality trait; it was strategic.

Throughout his public service career, he was forced to listen to a steady stream of constituents throughout the day. No matter how many appointments filled his calendar, he always left the office at five o’clock. One of his colleagues pulled him aside and said, “You and I have the same job. We talk to the same number of people. Yet you leave at five every day and I’m here until nine. How come?”

“You talk back,” Coolidge answered.

He later summed up his approach to one-on-one meetings: “You have to stand every day three or four hours of visitors. Nine-tenths of them want something they ought not to have. If you keep dead still, they will run down in three or four minutes. If you even cough or smile they will start up all over again.”

Read more fun facts about silence.

Read more fun facts about Presidents.

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