Leadership Communication: 10 Reasons to Shut Your Mouth Before it’s too Late

“Being able to effectively communicate is the most important skill any leader can possess.” Richard Branson

Leadership communication: You have a goal every time you open your mouth. It helps to know what that goal is. Image of a hippo with a wide open mouth.

Leadership communication: 10 reasons to close your mouth.

#1. You dozed off.

If it doesn’t matter to you, stay out of the conversation.

#2. Listeners squirm like it’s time for a restroom break.

#3. You’re bloviating.

Everyone knows when you’re talking out of your butt.

You look stupid when you’re impressed with your own knowledge.

#4. You’re not learning.

Talking is learning in some cases. But usually, the person who talks the most learns the least.

#5. You don’t have a clear goal.

If you don’t know why you’re opening your mouth, keep it shut.

#6. You’re offering unrequested advice.

Fixers irritate listeners.

#7. No one cares.

Things that seem important to you may be irrelevant to others.

Don’t answer questions people aren’t asking.

Leadership communication: Most of the successful people I've known are the ones who do more listening than talking. Image of a deer looking at the screen.

#8. You haven’t listened.

Listening comes before speaking.

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.” Bernard Baruch

#9. You’re waiting for the other person to shut up.

Every time you can’t wait for someone to stop talking – so you can spout your wisdom – the conversation is a waste of time.

#10. You don’t respect your listeners.

Always talk ‘with’. Never talk ‘at’.

Leadership communication: 12 reasons to open your mouth.

You have a goal every time you open your mouth. It helps to know what that goal is.

Why open your mouth:

  1. Persuade.
  2. Explain.
  3. Convince.
  4. Direct.
  5. Challenge.
  6. Correct.
  7. Comfort.
  8. Energize/encourage.
  9. Connect.
  10. Learn.
  11. Listen.
  12. Equip.

2 quick tips for leadership communication:

  1. Practice brevity. Shut-up sooner, not later.
  2. Clarify purpose. Close your mouth until you have a clear reason to open it.

Rule #1: Only open your mouth to make something better.

What leadership communication tips can you suggest?

What are some dumb communication strategies?

Still curious:

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Opinion | Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How