Do Less of This and You’ll be More Successful
You’re not as interesting as you think.
If you’re long-winded, the people around you wish you were short-winded.
Talk less. Succeed more.
5 Reasons people talk too much:
- Thinking. Extroverts think while they talk. (If you want your team to think, make space for them to talk.)
- Silence drives you crazy. It only takes 4 seconds for silence to feel awkward.
- You have power or position.
- To convince people you’re right.
7 Dangers of talking too much:
- Lost credibility. You earn respect with your ears and lose it with your mouth.
- Frustrating others.
- Diluting your message.
- Distracting people from priorities.
- Confusing people.
- Disengagement. A talkative leader complains that others don’t contribute.
- Demotivation. The weight of too many words sucks the life out of your team.
Scientific American reports, “On average, people spend 60 percent of conversations talking about themselves…”
Why do we talk about ourselves so much? It feels good!
Do you want your team to feel good? Make time for people to talk about their ideas, projects, goals, and progress.
You never bring out the best in others when you dominate meetings and conversations.
The person who talks the most has the most power. If you want your team to feel powerful, invite them to talk.
Humility creates space for others to talk.
A one sentence challenge:
#1. Begin with the end. Declare your intention in one sentence.
#2. Seek input in one sentence. What options come to mind for you?
#3. Declare a decision in one sentence.
#4. Ask, “What do you need to know?”
The traffic light rule:
You’re interesting for about 30 seconds. The talk-light is green. You start to get boring during the next 30 seconds. The talk-light is yellow.
At 60 seconds, the talk-light is RED. (Marty Nemko)
Unless you’re a wildly gifted communicator, you’re a full-fledged bore after 60 seconds.
What are some dangers of long-winded leadership?
How might leaders learn to talk less and empower more?
Why People Talk too Much, and Why it’s a Problem (news.au)
How to Know if you Talk too Much (HBR)
Don’t be the Boss Who Talks too Much (HBR)
Make the “one sentence challenge” into the “one sentence rule.”
That will make us all much more efficient.
Great point Dan!
Thanks Paul. Good idea. The concept was inspired by a leader I’m working with.
We hear “Noise Makers” all day through the media, through side-bar conversations, through useless iterations from politicians, clergy and many others.
Thank you, Dan!!!!
Another HOME RUN!!!!!!!!
Thanks Gregory. You remind me that talkers can be fear mongers!
Exactly right, Dan. Nothing worse than showing up for a meeting and being met with a monologue.
Thanks Mary. It makes you wonder why you are even in the room!
I had a manager who LOVED to her herself talk. The team would become so disinterested, that many times, they would totally miss the short message that she was actually needing to deliver. It was because the message was disguised by her ramblings and self promotion and you had to filter through that to get the actual point. For a long time, I prided myself on paying attention the whole time to get the actual message, but at some point it became too much effort for me as well. This led to my disengagement and resentment for her wasting our time and I eventually left the company. She’s still a manager there today, but the team enters and exits through a revolving door.
Thanks Reenie. Connecting turnover with a blabbing boss sobers me. It is tiring.
What a great post especially as we are connecting in some way with Family and friends this Thanksgiving. The best way to be thankful is to listen and cut our own need to talk
My Father often said to me ,”Junior why do you think God gave you two ears and One mouth ? Shut up and listen”
Thanks John. Love the idea that listening helps in our gratitdue practice.
Dan, Your wisdom today reminds me of an old saying, You have quit preaching and gone to meddling. Your words are a needed reminder for me.
That’s funny, Alan. 🙂 shhhh!!
Dan, My dad’s words coming through in today’s post, “Two ears. One mouth. Majority rules!”
Thanks Phil. Wisdom is often simple. It’s the practice that’s challenging.
How similar it is to my boss. He likes to talk about anything. That is, we can start discussing something really important, then as regards our work directly, and then we just discuss his work experience or talk about something else. That is, the main idea and task are entirely lost in this stream of incoherent conversations. And the most interesting thing is that he doesn’t seem to understand what distracts us from work. I like more important conversations when it comes to working. In ordinary life, it is another matter.