No, Really, Stop Talking

OK, I will admit it. I’m a conversational “cuttinski”. When I hear a conversation in the area about which I think I know something, I tend to jump in without being invited. Yes, it is an odious and boorish habit. I’m a “sentence-finisher”, too. I’ve also been known, once or twice, to let my eyes glaze over when the person I was talking with just wouldn’t get to the point.

I’ll admit it. I’m not perfect. (I know. Shocking, right?)

The reason I’m writing about this is that we need to be aware of our conversational behaviors and take steps to correct those which don’t serve us well. There’s a reason Mom tried to drum polite behavior into our heads and it wasn’t to avoid food-fights during the family meal.

OK, it wasn’t only for that reason.

Essentially all of these social rules exist for a single reason — to show respect for the other person. Breaking them sends the signal that you belief you have nothing to learn from that other person — that, in fact, you believe you are their superior in every way. Ironically, most of these conversational rules boil down to a fairly simple concept:

Shut yer yap and care about the other person.

I heard about a technique a while ago that I intend to attempt to implement (hey, I said I wasn’t perfect). When I’m chatting with someone, I will listen to what they are saying and not simply wait until it’s my turn to speak. I will not open my mouth to voice my opinion until they either ask me a question or have stopped for a full two seconds.

Maybe that will help keep me out of trouble. Wish me luck.

Photo credit: IAN RANSLEY DESIGN + ILLUSTRATION

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About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at www.TheReluctantNetworker.com or gpeters@thereluctantnetworker.com.

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