Play it Cool
In these days of “kiss & tell”, there are over-talkers everywhere! …..but saying less actually gets you more ……so, let’s press that mute button, shall we?
We live in a world that doesn’t just encourage over-talking, it practically demands it, where success is measured by how much attention we can attract. Raise your profile! Be seen in order to secure that promotion! Get a million Twitter followers, become an Instagram influencer, make a viral video, get a TED talk!
We are inundated with YouTube, social media, chat apps and streaming services. Did you know there are more than 2 million podcasts out there? More than 3,000 TED events taking place each year? With our business population sitting through thousands, if not millions, of meetings every year, thinking that half of them are a complete waste of time but, out of some misguided notion of politeness, continuing to attend them!?! …..and they call ME mad!
I don’t know about you, but for me, life is far too short to be wasting it away like this, either losing the will to live in a board room full of egos, or just sleeping it away, convinced that if we don’t get those magical 8 hours a night, we’ll disappear into the ether!
Yet many of the most powerful people on the planet do the complete opposite. Instead of seeking attention, they keep their thoughts to themselves, their cards close to their chest and consciously hold back. Walls have ears, remember? Great advice, given to us during the world wars of the 20th century. When these super-smart people do speak, they are very careful about what they say, allowing awkward pauses to hang during conversations, unafraid of silence.
The issue isn’t actually talking too much, but running the risk of blurting out an opinion that really has your foot land well and truly in one’s mouth, potentially upsetting someone at best, or at worst, maybe even losing your job.
Seeking the support of a speech coach will help improve voice clarity and diction, while paying for extra elocution lessons will certainly help to perfect your pitch and pace. In the meantime, here are a few tips to keep you on track:
- Whenever possible, say nothing – pretend your words equate to money and spend them wisely – play it cool, like Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry – not hot and bothered, like Prince Harry!
- Master the power of pause – take a breath. Wait. Let the other person process what you’ve said. Don’t talk AT them as if they were a wall, in your desperate attempt to get it all out, for fear of losing your thread.
- Quit social media – for God’s sake, better still for mankind’s, PLEASE. Give it a rest! The twin brother of over-talking has surely got to be over-tweeting! If you really can’t help yourself, at least take a break every so often.
- Seek out silence – watch, observe, notice, in order to remain present. Then, detach and unplug, in order to give your brain a rest and kick-start your creativity.
- Learn how to listen – instead of just hearing someone, practise active listening. This requires a concerted effort on your part, fierce and undivided attention for the other, not to mention a true demonstration of your value and respect for them.
I sincerely hope you enjoy having as much FUN as I do these days, by keeping your mouth shut!