Look who is talking (too much)

Sad man waving a red flag gesturing defeatA few weeks ago at a council community engagement forum, a gentleman stood up and made a powerful point and followed it with a snappy example.  You could see a lot of heads nodding around the room.  Then he went to explain, elaborate, add, elucidate, state, repeat and reiterate his point for another five or so minutes, all without drawing a breath!

You could see the shift in the room as people started coughing, shuffling papers and tapping their feet impatiently. Luckily a break was called for coffee. The overheard comments about this speaker were most unflattering. “Loves the sound of his voice,” one person muttered. “Can never get him to shut up,” another said.  This person was not a close talker, but an over-talker.

Sometimes over-talkers start off by being persuasive, but then they undo their good work by becoming boring and repetitive.  Sometime over-talkers cover up a lack of preparation or knowledge by making one point in five different ways.  It’s conversational smoke and mirrors.

We all have been guilty of over-talking – I know I certainly have!  So here are some red flags to watch out for:

  • Holding court for more than a couple of minutes without drawing breath, allowing no one else to get a word in
  • Repeating what you’ve already said, while one part of your brain is screaming ‘Stop talking now!’
  • People who were bright and sparkly when you started are now distracted and listless

Not for a moment am I suggesting we should be taciturn and speak in shotgun-staccato bursts of 30 seconds at a time.  Great conversations and deep connections are what make the personal and business world go around.  But over-talkers lose out on these benefits unless they regularly stop to take stock.  What are your thoughts on over talkers?

Please share I love hearing from you.

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  • Sundar Rajamanickam

    Yeah, I have seen people grumble and get restless when the meetings are nearing lunch time, tea break or closing time. Sure, need to watch out for such situations too …

  • Linda Gravina

    Wow Yamini, was this written just for me?!! This is something I have actively worked on in the past. Part of the challenge is being so passionate about ones work that you assume everyone else will want to know all the nitty gritty details too. Its got in the way of me selling my ideas more than once. Getting this right is a real skill. I’ve been lucky to have a mentor who does this well and he is helping me to refine my ‘sales pitch’ so it really lands. Thanks for the post, very good advice!

    • Yamini Naidu

      Linda love your honesty and self awareness! The very fact that you think you might be over talking suggests you are probably not. And I know what that feels like, get me on my favorite hobby horse and its 100 words a minute:) Love the fact that your mentor is helping you work through your pitch, and passion rightly channeled can be a huge plus.

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