We all talk too much. And the science proves it.
I was tempted to have those two sentences be the total content for my newsletter this month. However, I will elaborate (just a little).
My conversations with clients recently have focused on brevity. When we need to make a point, answer a question, handle a challenge, offer a perspective, explain something….how can we say less? Be crisper? Get to the point faster? And know when to stop talking? As social animals we are hard wired to communicate. This is how we navigate and negotiate our way around our world, and it works.
However, the challenge and the contradiction in this hybrid world is that our capacity to pay attention to all this chatter is almost zero. Okay, not quite zero, but not far from it. When others are speaking, we can decide very quickly to just stop. Stop listening. Stop caring. Stop interacting.So how to be more effective? Think of it like a traffic light system. This glorious analogy came from Harvard Business research, and I attribute it to them. We have a green light for the first 20 seconds. Our audience likes us if what we’re saying is relevant and serving others in the conversation. We have an amber light for the next 20 seconds. The risk is dramatically increasing that our audience will lose interest. Take heed! We have a red light at 40 seconds. No matter how exciting, engaging, thrilling, relevant, dynamic, and fabulous we think what we’re saying is….just stop. Otherwise, we’re in severe danger of boring, frustrating, disengaging and dissuading our audience completely. Our impact is zero; our ‘wins’ at the start of our message have turned into losses. We said too much.
Until next time….