The Golden Rule of Speaking

Ever heard someone drone on and on at a meeting, conference . . .  or dinner table? Me too! Dare I ask, “Is it if you?” Not sure? I just read a fascinating article by Bruce Kasanoff. He makes some great points and asks some great questions such as: When does time go faster for you,

  • when you are talking to someone? or
  • when you are listening to someone?

For most people time flies when they are speaking but when they are listening to someone else, it can grind to a halt! Kananoff says there is a trick to getting people to listen to you.

I call it the Golden Rule of Speaking:

Stop talking BEFORE they stop listening! So simple. Do you do it? Do you continue talking when people are checking their phones, whispering to one another, glancing at the clock or butting their heads against the wall – kidding that’s just bad for the wall! I remember attending a workshop where one of the speakers was giving a powerpoint presentation. His talk was well over his allotted time. I was sitting at the back so I could see that people in front of me were checking phones, fidgeting, talking, etc. Then he said “I went to a lot of work to create these slides so you’re going to listen to me till I’m finished!” Yep, he really did say that. But he got it wrong. They weren’t listening, they were just sitting in chairs while he finished droning on. They had stopped listening, fifty slides ago!

The point is…it’s hard to edit yourself.

Especially when you have so much good information to share. But there’s no point sharing it if people aren’t listening, is there? 

Here’s where you need to begin editing yourself:

  • Team meetings and strategy sessions
  • Sales pitches (that includes pitching ideas)
  • Workshops (talk less and give more interaction)
  • One-on-one conversations (especially if you are giving advice)
  • And of course . . .
  • Advice to your kids and spouse!

Now you might be wondering, how do you edit yourself?

Here’s some ideas to get you started:

1. Videotape Yourself

It’s the best way to get the feedback you need. And you probably won’t do it, right? That’s what I thought, so here’s another option:

2. Create a Dialogue

Instead of boring them to death with a long-winded narrative, stop talking and ask a question and then . . . LISTEN to the answer.

3. Share a Short Personal Story

Ensure that it makes your point.

Three simple suggestions.

But will you try them? If you are a formal or informal leader then you need to implement these suggestions in order to be effective in your communication. If you are struggling to get your messaging across or people just aren’t ‘getting it’ then, then I invite you to contact me for a Free 20 minute phone call. We’ll discuss your situation and look at some strategies that will benefit you. Click here for your free call.

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    Associate Director at the Centre for Professional Development, Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing, University of Toronto.

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Seriously? Me, too! covers 10 Power Strategies that seriously work. It takes everyday situations that you can relate to, sprinkles in a bit of humour (you can’t be serious all the time) and demonstrates how you can achieve personal success — one simple step at a time. Learn More »


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