Having a conversation with someone is an exchange that requires effective listening skills. We need to learn to talk less and say more.
Tips For Speaking Less But Saying More
We live in a world where we are inundated with information at every turn. Whether you are in front of a computer, a television, or even pumping gas these days, there is information being thrown at you.
This constant inundation of information has created short attention spans and the incessant need to speak frequently. While talking isn’t a bad thing, people can be put off when you aren’t actually saying anything.
Think about the relationships in your life. Would you like them to be better? Deeper? More meaningful? Ask yourself how much time you spend listening and how much time you spend talking. Figuring out how to be a better listener and a more meaningful talker could yield more positive results. Here are some specific tips to get you started.
Evaluate Your Thoughts
Many people tend to start talking before evaluating their thoughts. Take a moment to think about your point of view before you say a single word. Formulate the proper way to speak about what’s on your mind without rambling about other topics.
This can be the single greatest challenge for many people, but you are up for it. Becoming a critical thinker when it comes to your words is one of the most important things that you can do when learning to talk less. Excessive talking is a great way to lose your audience’s attention, so learning how much information you need to give is key.
Because of social media and a constant flow of random details, many people have developed modern communication issues. There are fewer phone calls and more texting. There is less public speaking and more quick Zoom meetings or group chats. Because of all of these new ideas being thrown at us constantly, our conversational skills and interaction skills have gotten worse.
Taking a moment to evaluate your thoughts and let those inner voices sort themselves out will lend you a little spot of time to say more than what you’d actually say if you just rambled it all out in fits and starts. It will also give you a moment to evaluate whether you are speaking to contribute or just speaking because you can’t be silent.
Enjoy the Silence
There is a reason that the saying “Silence is Golden” has been around for so many years. When you are silent, you can be more aware of all of the things around you. You can listen better, observe better, and be a better participant in various areas of life. Silence is a source of great strength.
Learn to enjoy the silence on a daily basis if you feel that you are out of practice. From the silence you experience while taking a walk to the silence you get from an end-of-the-night bath session. Put down the phone and just be. Take time every day to linger in your own thoughts. Sit silently in a dark room without background noise.
When you learn to enjoy the silence that is your own thoughts, you’ll be prone to less wordiness when you open your mouth. Your words will be worth more because they aren’t as cluttered and your thoughts are clearer.
Mind Your Body Language
For better or worse, many people communicate with their bodies. Whether you use your hands when you speak, your eyebrows when you question, or cross your arms when you are defensive, this personality trait communicates a myriad of emotions and reactions.
That said, our body language can elicit positive outcomes as well. In a social situation, the person who is talking the most may be the loudest, but if your body language is open, your eyes engaged, and you have a smile on your face, other human beings are likely to be attracted to you.
Keeping yourself open for communication without all of the words is an extremely powerful tool and a subtle way to influence people. Successful people don’t need to say a lot. They just need to say the right things and ask the right questions.
De-Stress More Often
There is a huge correlation between stress, anxiety, and uncontrolled talking. The spouting that we do when we are anxious is typically more rambling and ongoing to let the agitation out of our body.
Consider adding a daily walk or journaling to your schedule. The small act of taking a twenty-minute walk every day (without looking at your phone) will slow your mind down. When you use walking as a form of exercise as well as to slow down your thoughts, you are training yourself to talk less and say more. By journaling, you are putting those thoughts down on the page instead of into the universe. When our minds are calm and peaceful, we are more accurate with the words we choose to say aloud to others.
Excessive chattering is one of the bad habits in conversation that can increase the anxiety of the friend or family member you’re speaking with. If you can slow yourself down internally, you will experience less tune-out from your loved one and likely less frustration with the conversation.
Listen with Every Ounce
Are you a good listener? When you are having a conversation with someone, you may not be hearing everything they have to say. During the time they’re speaking we’re often so preoccupied with our own thoughts that we’ve neglected to really take in what this person was saying to us. In other words, we are waiting to talk instead of hearing our conversation partner.
Pause all of your thoughts and focus only on listening to what another person is saying. That way, when you reply, it is a valuable reply. Fewer words and more value are what you are going for, and listening is a main strategy for getting there.
One of the best ways to become a great listener is to force yourself to restate what the other person said before you give your opinion or input. “I hear you when you say that you’ve been having trouble with your boss. That happened to me a few years ago… ” By restating the point, you are not only listening, but you are also letting the other person know that you’ve heard them.
Follow this up with good questions about the subject of the conversation. The best way to make your conversation partner feel comfortable is to engage with the topic. That way the person feels heard.
We all want to be social – that’s part of our nature as humans. But being social involves speaking less and saying more so that others can add value to the conversation. It becomes about listening – not just hearing – and developing a back and forth that allows you to build better communication skills. In the end, you’ll have deeper conversations and find that more people desire to engage with you.
There are so many reasons for learning to talk less and say more. The biggest reason is that in the end, it makes you a better partner, friend, and person. When you practice these tips, you can actually change the narrative from being someone that you can chat with to being someone who others enjoy listening to.