Embrace “White Space” as a Young Professional
By, Nicole Crimaldi
Last night my girlfriend Millie and I were shopping at Water Tower Place in Chicago. Millie had several things on her shopping list, so spending long amounts of time in each store pondering and chatting with sales associates wasn’t a priority. We went into the Coach store where Millie intended on purchasing an every day purse. Millie doesn’t shop often so when she needs things, she gets in and out.
Unfortunately, the moment we walked into Coach we were practically “attacked” by an overly peppy and talkative sales associate who immediately asked us “Do you guys work around here? What do you do? Where are you from?” Etc., etc. We gave short and simple answers in hopes that we could continue shopping. She proceeded to follow us around the store while talking about her self and practically bouncing off the walls. She was a recent college graduate and banking intern. We learned wayyyy too many details about this girl (I’ll spare you) and honestly it was a distraction for us as shoppers. I couldn’t wait to get out of that store.
As we were leaving, Millie said “Gosh, that girl just doesn’t get it. That store sells itself, her attempt at selling us so hard made it worse.” And I said back, “she must not understand the concept of white space and that white space is ok!”
I think I first learned about “white space” in my entrepreneurship classes in college. Apple is a GREAT example of using white space. Take a look at their website, their products, their marketing. While Apple’s competitors focus on filling the page/conversations/advertisingn with “stuff,” Apple does just the opposite- and boy has it worked well for them.
The same concept of using “white space” can be applied to our careers. As young professionals, it’s so easy to open our mouths as a way to overcompensate for our lack of experience or to fill the silence with rhetoric. Consider your favorite leaders: they choose their words carefully. Sometimes they nod and think rather than speak. Great public speakers have learned to master (and rely on) white space.
Experiment with taking advantage of “white space” today. It builds credibility and makes you more of a pleasure to work with. Don’t fear the moment of silence- embrace it for your benefit!