Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and they made their point, but just had to add a few other comments? Or, how about listening to a speaker that said “in closing” 5 times before they actually closed?
I was recently working with two people that were attempting to resolve a conflict. At least three times it appeared that it was resolved until one or both of them added a comment or passing shot. If you have kids, you experience this all the time. While some people don’t even know when to shut up, I have found that the larger number just doesn’t know how to shut up.
Part of this problem stems from people’s discomfort with silence — not to mention the skills to wrap up a conversation/debate/speech. Just remember, friends don’t let friends talk themselves into a hole. Since I know none of you EVER suffer from not knowing when to shut up, take a look at the steps here so you can share them with your friends as a little communication hint.
Whether it’s one on one or in a group…
Here’s how to shut up:
1. Be clear with yourself about what you are attempting to communicate.
2. Share with the person (when it isn’t obvious) what you want to accomplish.
3. Avoid, at all costs, getting distracted by other issues, ideas, points, stories etc.
4. Use talk ending techniques like:
— So, what are the next steps?
— If it is a public presentation, use an example that sums things up then stop
— Focus on getting to the end of what you have to say in minimal time
5. Give information in an amount the listener can use not the amount you feel compelled to share.
6. Stop talking/tolerate silence — it won’t kill you!