January 7, 2009.
"It's all right to hold a conversation, but you should let go of it now and then."
Some people possess an uncanny gift of gab (if you can truly call it a gift). These ultra-talkative sorts are rarely at a loss for words. No matter the subject or time of day, these chatty souls can converse, chitchat and chew the fat with the best of them. Always ready to chime in on a moment's notice, it's virtually impossible to keep these folks quiet.
Even for a moment.
Why these folks feel obligated to talk until the cows come home is anybody's guess. But they do. Blathering about this, prattling on about that, these long-winded sorts seemingly love the sound of their own voices. Regardless of whether they have something to say or nothing to say, they keep their mouths keep going ninety miles a minute. And that's usually not a good thing.
"If A equals success, then the formula is A equals X plus Y and Z, with X being work, Y play, and Z keeping your mouth shut."
Let's talk turkey here; listening to people endlessly drone on and on is about as pleasing as someone screeching his or her fingernails across a blackboard. It doesn't take long for it to get under your skin. As these folks rattle away for what seems like forever, we quickly lose interest in what they say or what they are saying. And even if they somehow said something actually worth hearing, we probably wouldn't even notice. It would just get drowned out in their tidal wave of words.
Communication is not supposed to be a one-way street. just like dancing, it takes two to tango. Yet some folks never get this memo. The name of their game is nonstop blabbering; so they just keep on talking and talking and talking some more.
And we wish they would simply stop. Or at least tone it down a tad.
"Some people approach every problem with an open mouth."
Adlai E. Stevenson
Hey, there's nothing wrong with talking. After all, speaking is our primary mode of communication. But there's a difference between cogently expressing your thoughts and ideas and simply running your mouth. A huge difference as a matter of fact.
Learning when to speak - and when to listen - is the basis of effective communication. And effective communication is the key to lasting success, be it business or personal in nature.
It shouldn't surprise us that the top performers are generally the best listeners. Oh sure, theyre really good at expressing their views. In fact, they can virtually paint a picture with their words alone. But as good as they are with their words, they are even better at listening to what others have to say.
They don't hog the conversation. They have a conversation. They understand the difference. And so should you.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."
When you speak, do your words count? Or are they little more than hot air, a strung together potpourri of meaningless words? Do you think before you speak - or do you just start spouting off and see what happens? Are your words measured and unhurried - or are they oftentimes spoken in a spontaneous or off the cuff fashion?
Do you allow others to share in the conversation - or do you constantly seek to dominate the dialogue? Do you intently listen to what others are saying - or do you regularly cut them off or repeatedly blurt in?
Being able to succinctly express your views, preferably in as few words as possible, is a big first step in becoming a good communicator. People will listen to you as long as they don't have to listen forever. But (and this is a BIG but) you must also demonstrate the ability to listen as well. Really, really listen to what others are saying to you. They want to know you're listening - and that you care. So show them. Stop talking so much and start listening more and you'll start having some great conversations.
Are you listening?
The Bottom Line: When it comes to conversation, you need to listen, listen and listen some more.
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