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: 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.
#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:
2 quick tips for leadership communication:
- Practice brevity. Shut-up sooner, not later.
- 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?
If Words Had Calories – Suggestions for Bloviators
Opinion | Talk Less. Listen More. Here’s How
This is great – thank you so much for sharing these observations. Do you have a top three books in this area that you would recommend?
Thanks Travis. There are some wonderful books on Leadership Communication. The two that come to mind this morning are:
Crucial Conversations https://amzn.to/3Jtz8ng
Just Listen https://amzn.to/3Qfg0wd
Perhaps others have some suggestions?
1. Follow abstract ideas with concrete examples.
2. Define your terms.
3. Only provide the required details.
Thanks Paul. Examples and definitions are often left out of leadership communication. Sometimes it’s surprising that people think they are communicating well, but they have separate definitions. They thought they agreed on terms but didn’t.
On #7, if someone asks for the time, don’t tell them how to make a watch.
Love it, Jennifer. Thanks for a smile!
This is really great! I found myself thinking about all the people I could pass this along to. By the end of it I realized that it was me who needed it most. Thanks for the words of wisdom!!
Thanks Elizabeth. I’m the same way. I start out writing a blog post for others and end up talking to myself. It’s a sobering thing to realize.
Some of the most important words might be the ones we don’t say that might cloud an issue or influence a discussion when we weigh in with our ‘brilliance’. Leadership sometimes requires a bloody tongue –
On two occasions I’ve complemented my peers for not saying anything during a meeting. I knew they had a lot to say on a specific topic but they kept silent. I was impressed.
Under “Why open your mouth,” I’d suggest adding “Ask.” Asking for clarification on some point usually helps everyone and provides focus without hijacking the discussion.