If Words Had Calories – Suggestions for Bloviators
Words are like ice cream. A little ice cream tastes good, but a lot of ice cream isn’t better.
If words had calories, what size would you be? Would you be healthy, anemic, or a ginormous balloon with bulging eyes and drooling lips?
If you never consider how many words cross your lips, you might be a bloviator.
My inner critic relishes the trip home after a presentation. Frankly, he comes out after I do most anything. He enjoys helping me evaluate any interaction. You probably know some of his best-loved words.
- Shouldn’t have…
- Why did you…
- I can’t believe…
- You idiot… (A personal favorite.)
My inner critic came out the other day and said, “You blabbed on and on. Why did you talk so damn much?” (My inner critic loves slang.)
The trouble with my inner critic is sometimes he’s right. I got excited and couldn’t stop talking. The person across the table couldn’t have slipped a word in edgewise, even if he tried.
If words had calories, I would have puffed up and exploded.
Three dangers of talking too much:
Listening encourages engagement. People disengage when they’re convinced you aren’t listening.
Bloviating leaders devalue people.
Some people might perform better when they feel devalued, but most will turn into sleepwalking zombies.
Thinking your own thoughts might be enlightening but learning usually begins with listening.
Blabbermouth leaders are dumber than they think.
Four modest suggestions for bloviators:
- Go on a word diet. Just say fewer words.
- Ask questions to explore meaning.
- Turn enthusiasm for your own ideas into enthusiasm to learn about other people.
- Try silence. But don’t give the impression you’re mad.
What are some dangers of talking too much?
What suggestions do you have for talkative leaders?
To quote The Duke:
“Talk low, talk slow and don’t say too much”
Ahh… be like John Wayne. Thanks Mitch
Think psychiatrist’s couch… what you need to find is locked inside the other party… Beyond that, letting the other guy speak demonstrates interest beyond your product/service/point of view, interest in finding a mutually workable path forward.
You detest the fast talking used car salesman because your perception is that he’s only interested in one agenda – his own.
Nice metaphor Ken.
I do think there’s value in learning about other people, just because people have value. But you point is well taken. We aren’t simply on a social outing when it comes organizational leadership.
Talking too much—your big ideas get buried in a sea of details.
When writing or speaking, I try to keep this this quote in mind.
“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Dan, This might be one of your best reflections ever! Thank you so much!
“If words had calories, what size would you be?” Best question I’ve seen in a long time!
A friend of mine invented a fake 12-Step program “Extra Sentences Anonymous” for people who say too much. I was a charter member. Now I sometimes trot it out for clients when we do mock job interviews, to make the point that they can stop talking when they’ve answered the question asked by the interviewer. Nerves often make someone keep talking and saying way too much. That behavior does not demonstrate confidence – something many interviewers seek in a potential company leader.
What are some dangers of talking too much?
You may lose the audience, you may get off the course of what you are trying to portray.
What suggestions do you have for talkative leaders? Focus on the message!
Listen to yourself first, record your speech and listen before you address others.May help in reducing the “babbling brook syndrome”?
Stephen Covey’s Habit #5 -“Seek first to understand, then to be understood” resonates with me. Listen to YOURSELF to check your understanding, then speak with that level of understanding to your audience. My mom used to always say “…you were given two ears and one mouth for a reason…..” to emphasize listening over speaking aimlessly – and we have all done that. It is the wise person who puts value on their spoken word so that it’s value is heard by the listener, thus adding value to their lives as well.
Any suggestions on what to do when a co-worker likes to hear his own voice in every meeting we both attend? Neither of us are in charge of the meeting.
A good one for sureeeeee!
The question I was trying to remember from Elena Aguilar: What are you learning about yourself as a leader?
Lunch was fun. Hope your session went well! Jeannine Jeannine Keairnes Principal Coach
*Arranger – Individualization – Learner – Connectedness – Strategic*
“Leadership is not a position or a title, it is action and example.”
On Thu, Dec 16, 2021 at 5:50 AM Leadership Freak wrote:
> Dan Rockwell posted: ” Words are like ice cream. A little ice cream tastes > good, but a lot of ice cream isn’t better. If words had calories, what size > would you be? Would you be healthy, anemic, or a ginormous balloon with > bulging eyes and drooling lips? If you never co” >
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The husband of a former British Prime Minister once said “Better to keep your mouth shut and have people think you an idiot than to open it and prove them right.”
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I love this anology. The advice I would give is the old adage “You were given two ears, but one mouth, so you should do twice as much listening as you do speaking.”