Maybe you’ve been told you have the gift of gab. You’re naturally easy to talk to, and you can seemingly convince anyone to do anything. When you work in sales, being socially gifted can be helpful. It can also be helpful, though, to know when to stop speaking and when to listen instead.  

John Millen, a speaker, coach and consultant, sees it all the time in his work – people who talk constantly. They might talk about anything and everything, commandeering every conversation. Or they may go into entirely too much detail, over-explaining everythingSome people are redundant or think they know everything and need to interject their thoughts into every conversation.

If this sounds like you or someone you know, take a minute to learn how to tame the tendency to talk too much. We share some ideas from Millen in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

Develop awareness. Becoming aware of the problem is the first step. It’s also important to growth, Millen says. If you’re unsure as to whether you struggle with talking too much, he suggests asking a trusted co-worker what they think. This outside perspective can shed light on potential weaknesses.

Find your listening ratio. According to Millen, this is the amount of time you spend listening versus the amount of time you spend talking. For introverts, this ratio might look like 20/80, spending 20% of the time talking and 80% of the time listening. The ratio for extroverts will look different.

Be prepared. If you’re the type of person who tends to go on and on, it can help to prepare your thoughts in advance so you stay on topic. If you’re meeting with a client or giving a presentation, Millen recommends thinking through what you want to say so you can keep your message clear and focused. 

Keep practicing. Talking less might seem challenging at first, but it becomes easier the more you work at it. Aim to make your point in one minute and then in just 30 seconds. The more fluff you eliminate from your conversations, the easier it will be to convey your point, Millen says.  

Remember that less is more. You’re more likely to keep people’s attention when you speak succinctly than if you ramble on. It takes more work to be brief, Millen says, but you’ll reap the benefits of being someone who is heard and understood.

When you’re pegged as someone who talks too much, it can damage your reputation and lead people to brush you off. Consider the tips above to adjust your talk-to-listen ratio.   

Compiled by Audrey Sellers 
Source: John Millen is the CEO of the Reputation Group, a leadership communication company. He is a speaker, coach and consultant.