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Four Tips for Talkers

I probably talk too much sometimes. If I’m really excited about a topic, I can go on and on. But I can also recognize a bored listener.

Toby Keith (country music singer) in his humorous song, “I want to Talk About Me,” reminds us to not always dominate a conversation. I think I'm a good listener, most of the time, but my brain starts to hurt when a person goes on and on and on. All I can think is "Please take a breath!"

Have you ever wanted to tell someone that you need to hang up the phone, or leave for an appointment, but they won't even pause for a second? You find yourself no longer listening to their words. Instead you're listening for a pause so you can quickly say, "Well, I gotta go."

An important life lesson is to learn to recognize when you’re talking too much. It can come across as egotistical, or rude, or boring. It also makes you far less persuasive. "Seek first to understand then to be understood" according to Stephen Covey.

Not dominating a conversation is sometimes hard as a parent, but important. I’ve learned the hard way that if I finish a “conversation” with my teenager and I did all the talking, it didn’t go well. I accomplish nothing. While I’m feeling good that I’m making great points, my teenager is thinking “bored” or “irritated” or “When will she stop talking?” I need to know what he’s thinking too or I may just be wasting my breath.

I use the word TAME to remember simple conversation tips. These tips help with conversations in the business world or at home.

Take a Breath – Remember to regularly pause, take a breath, and notice the body language of everyone you’re talking to. You don’t need to take a college course on body language to recognize boredom. You just have to take time to notice, care, and give them an opportunity to offer an opinion, comment, or question. It will keep them far more engaged in what you’re saying.

Ask – Ask questions and listen. The more you talk the less you listen. You'll be more interesting and relevant if you know what your listener is thinking. Questions send the message that you care about their opinion. If they don’t think you care about their opinion, they probably won’t care about yours.

More Means Less - The more people who are involved in the conversation, the less each individual should talk. Let everyone have a turn! The quiet ones have opinions and thoughts too, they just don’t want to participate in the competition of who can talk the longest or loudest.

Eliminate – Eliminate unnecessary details. Be concise. Remember that attention spans are getting shorter and shorter!

TAME your conversations. You’ll be far more interesting, likeable, persuasive, and effective.


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