“Have you ever been in a conversation with a person who has already made his point but just won’t let it go? Worse yet, are you that person?” asks Mike Staver, a Fernandina Beach, Fla.-based business coach and author of “Do You Know How to Shut Up? And 51 Other Life Lessons That Will Make You Uncomfortable.” The fact is, says Staver, “some people love the sound of their own voices, while others may simply chatter on out of nervousness or because they are uncomfortable with silence. Regardless, it’s annoying and counterproductive.”
Here’s the thing: Shutting up is a valuable skill to learn in business and in personal relationships. By shutting up once in a while, you will appear more confident and intelligent to everyone you come in contact with, says Staver. Plus, it’s amazing how much you can learn when you stop running your mouth.
In “Do You Know How to Shut Up”, Staver offers tips on how to briefly and efficiently speak your mind:
- Be clear with yourself about what you are attempting to communicate.
- Share with the person (when it isn’t obvious) what you want to accomplish.
- Avoid getting distracted by other issues, ideas, points and stories.
- Use talk-ending techniques such as:
- Saying, “So, what are the next steps?”
- Using an example to sum things up, and stopping.
- Focusing on getting to the end of what you have to say in minimal time.
- Using as few words as possible.
- Share only enough information a listener can reasonably digest–not the amount you personally feel compelled to share.
- Ask someone you know and trust to give you feedback on the volume of words you use, the degree to which you are clear, and the degree to which you are concise. It is very important that you are both.