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.

Curious Dog.

You earn respect with your ears and lose it with your tongue.

5 Reasons people talk too much:

  1. Thinking. Extroverts think while they talk. (If you want your team to think, make space for them to talk.)
  2. Silence drives you crazy. It only takes 4 seconds for silence to feel awkward.
  3. You have power or position.
  4. Insecurity.
  5. To convince people you’re right.

7 Dangers of talking too much:

  1. Lost credibility. You earn respect with your ears and lose it with your mouth.
  2. Frustrating others.
  3. Diluting your message.
  4. Distracting people from priorities.
  5. Confusing people.
  6. Disengagement. A talkative leader complains that others don’t contribute.
  7. Demotivation. The weight of too many words sucks the life out of your team.

Feeling good:

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?

Bonus material:

Why People Talk too Much, and Why it’s a Problem (

How to Know if you Talk too Much (HBR)

Don’t be the Boss Who Talks too Much (HBR)