Rebecca likes to talk. A lot. Any time you run across her, she will gladly tell you everything going on in her life. She typically stars in her stories. Unfortunately, she doesn’t wait to be asked, and she doesn’t care if you have any interest or even the time.
Margaret Millar said, “Most conversations are merely monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.”
Unfortunately, when you talk too much you push others away. They don’t feel like part of the “conversation” and opt out. They may stay around until something better comes along, or they may simply leave. At best it drains their energy. The talking damages the relationship.
Why Do People Talk So Much?
There are a number of reasons people talk so much. For example, some simply think more clearly out loud. Others like the feel of the jaw action. Still others use talking to cover for anxiety or nerves. Some suffer from loneliness. They may want to control the conversation. And there are people who talk too much because they want to create an impression instead of allowing others to discern their real selves.
Whatever the reason, the talker fails to consider whether the talk is appropriate or serves a legitimate purpose. They do not take the listener’s perspective. As a result, they miss signals the listener wants to move on.
Many times I hear talkers describe minute-by-minute outlines of their day. Most of the time could easily cut their descriptions by 90%. Almost always I didn’t ask and don’t really care what happens in their office. And still I hear people say they had to file something, found another room to clean after ten years, or some such trivia that has no value to me. I continue to hear the stories with little if any room for dialogue.
[Note I don’t mind listening to make someone feel better. The minutiae causes the problems as it typically adds no value to the story.]
Don’t Talk, Dialogue
An old saying reminds us we have just one mouth and two ears, and we should use them proportionately. When you meet someone, whether planned or not, take a minute to learn what the other wants to discuss. Instead of simply talking, start a dialogue where all parties can add something. Ask yourself if the others really need or want to know all the minute details before sharing. Select the details that most likely will interest them. They will ask questions if they want to know more.
The important part is the dialogue. It will help create a stronger bond between you and leave a positive impression.