Communicating at Work – Know When to Shut Up!

Okay, it’s not the nicest title but I bet it got your attention. More so, I bet it brought to mind a very specific person that would benefit from reading this post. Am I right?

If the person that came to mind is you–congratulations! You’ve just taken the first step to making a change.

Why is it so difficult for some people to say only what’s needed and no more?

Well, some people …

…fail to stop talking because they can’t handle silence.

… think more words will sell whatever it is they are selling including themselves.

… think they are so  interesting  and feel compelled to tell it all and then some.

… have no self-awareness. Yes, this is a big one.

… have little confidence in their abilities so talking covers up the fear of being asked a question he can’t answer.

You get the point, I could go on and on.

So, when do you shut up and how do you stop yourself once you’re on a rant? Try these 5 steps to becoming a better conversationalist or sales person:

1. If you’re not sure you have this problem but suspect you do ask a trusted friend to tell you the truth. Be prepared to hear the answer.

2. Honestly, I know of no better way to hear yourself except to…hear yourself. Record your calls and casual conversations and play them back while listening with a fresh ear. In-other-words, pretend you are someone else listening to you–maybe your boss or your customer.

3. Listen for breaks in the conversation you felt compelled to fill. Listen to hear if there are any breaks! Did your listener get to speak at all, other than to ask that fateful question…”how are you?” Were you having a monologue rather than a dialogue?

4. Do a little self-awareness quiz by asking yourself why you feel compelled to constantly be talking. Use the statements above to see what resonates for you. Let this be the starting point for change.

5. Approach your next conversations purposely. Make a commitment to change one or two things. Maybe you want to focus on allowing the other person to speak at least three times in a short conversation. Or maybe, you want to focus on interpreting body language to know when your listener is losing interest. Or maybe, you’ll really step up and ask for help to overcome your talking habit.

But here’s a clue… when you see glazed eyes…shut up!

Want more tips on communicating at work? You’ll find them in my book, Misunderstood! The Fast Guide to Communicating at Work–What to Say, How to Say It and When to Shut Up.

Want to use this article on your website or your own ezine? Share the knowledge but you MUST include the following: Allie Casey , Communication Coach and Reinvention Specialist, can help you and your team ramp up your communication for more productivity and profits with fewer misunderstandings and headaches. To get your F.R.E.E. audio course, more communication articles and information visit


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