July 3, 2011
"Isn't it strange how often small talk comes in large doses?" W.A. Nance
Ever noticed how some people can talk all day long and never really say much of anything at all? These long-winded folks have the gift of gab (if you can call it a gift) and can ramble on for hours. Talk is cheap - and they want their money's worth.
Since they're always yapping about one thing or another, few pay much attention to what they're saying. Their words are empty, hollow... meaningless. It's not a big shock that most people tune them out.
As quickly as possible.
Then there are individuals who keep things short and sweet. Not a lot of bluster, not a whole lot of woofing. When they have something to say, they make their point. They make it stick. And they get on down the road. As a result, people pay a lot more attention to what they're saying.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something." Saul Bellow
When you start talking, do people tune you in - or tune you out? Do they listen to what you have to say - or do they wish you'd go away?
Or are you so busy talking that you haven't noticed?
In order for your message to be heard, you need to capture - and keep - the other person's attention. That means you need to get very good at keeping your words to a bare minimum. You should make every effort to condense your message into a Cliffs Notes version.
If your message won't fit on a bumper sticker, you've got too much message.
Say what you need to say. Then, once you've made your point, stop talking. As the old speaking adage says, "Know your stuff. Know whom you are stuffing. Know when they are stuffed."
"Never fail to know that if you are doing all the talking, you are boring somebody." Helen Gurley Brown
Regardless of whether you are making a presentation or just having a casual conversation, here are some basic rules to follow:
Begin with an exclamation point. Don't just kind of wade into the shallow end, plunge into the deep end. Make a splash. Make some waves. Grab their attention right from the start. Quickly establish 'what's in it for them.'
Keep it fun.
Keep it light.
Keep it simple.
Some wow, some pizzazz, something special.
Talk. Don't lecture. Captivate. Motivate. Speak with variety in your voice. Slow down for a dramatic point and speed up to show excitement. Pause occasionally for effect. Make sure you pile a ton of meat in the middle. And then pile some more.
When you're done (the sooner, the better), end with another exclamation point. And exit stage left.
"I love talking about nothing. It is the only thing I know anything about." Oscar Wilde
Want a few more pointers?
Be concise and to the point. Keep it short; the shorter, the better. Trim the fat. You don't have to tell them what you're going to tell them. And you don't have to tell them what you told them either. Just tell it good enough the first time around.
Don't give a speech. Talk from your heart. And always save the best for last. Leave the audience with something to think about, something that hits home. People remember best what you say last.
Power Pointer: Only talk when you have something worth saying.
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