Rose McGowan, an actress who’s been exposing Harvey Weinstein for sexual harassment, caught my attention when she said, “Ladies of Hollywood, your silence is deafening.”

There’s truth in that cliché. When something should or must be said, failing to articulate it is bad. If you have a platform, use it, because otherwise the opportunity will pass and you’ll miss it.

Yet there’s another way to look at silence. It can be an affirmation of strength, especially when you’re practicing the art of negotiation. Many people are so uncomfortable with silence that they’re inclined to fill it with whatever springs to mind. The speaker who blurts out just anything may feel empowered or even relieved for a moment, but likely will lose leverage. And leverage is everything when you’re negotiating for an advantage.

The powerbroker sits back and listens and strategically engages silence. This masterful undertaking cultivates the perception that the person who says the least is often thought to be the smartest in the room and the chatty one less so. Let the other guy bask in the sound of his own voice as you quietly and calmly wait for an opening. Maybe it will be a disclosure that the speaker should not have shared–and would not have shared on second thought.

If I’m representing the speaker, I prepare key messages to avoid this kind of oversharing and to stay on track. I always tell clients they don’t have to travel down any unexpected roads. It’s OK to say, “I don’t know” rather than hazard a guess. Sit tight, make eye contact confidently, and benefit from the silence.