Managers Need To Ask Themselves If They Talk Too Much

Some talking is ok, too much talking is not
Some talking is ok, too much talking is not

Image Credit: Pete Ashton

How much do you talk? Do you talk enough? Or perhaps, do you talk too much? A key part of the job of being a manager is using your manager skills to deliver good communication. There are a lot of different ways for us to communicate;and talking is one of the most important. However, it turns out that it is entirely possible for us to to do too much talking. When this happens, the people that we are talking to, just start to shut down and stop listening to us. Do you talk too much?

What Happens When We Talk Too Much

Just imagine showing up for a job interview. You are nervous and you want to make a good impression. You get ushered into an office and you are meeting with the hiring manager. They ask you a question and you are excited because you have the perfect answer. This is when you start talking. And you keep talking for 25 minutes. The hiring manager then asks you another question and you launch into your response which takes up another 25 minutes. All of a sudden the interview is over – where did the time go?

The problem of talking too much can cause problems for managers in a number of different settings. We can run into problems during presentations, job hunts, customer meetings, and networking events. The good news is that this personality problem is correctable. When we talk too much, others can see this as an indication of an ego that is too big, poor preparation on our part, or even low confidence.

The problem that people who talk too much are dealing with is that the world in which we now live in has changed. Perhaps once upon a time we could talk a long time to get to our point; however, that is no longer the case. We are living in a Twitter world where what you say has to be able to be summarized in a 140 character tweet. We also have to understand that the people that we are talking to have changed. Many of the teams, groups and individuals that we’ll be talking with are now made up of millennials who have a much shorter attention span than we may be used to. What all of this means is that we need to make our point very quickly.

How To Limit How Much We Talk

The problem of talking too much often shows up when we are making presentations. Each presentation has been allocated a certain amount of time. When we start talking, we may forget how much time has been allocated and we can easily start to take up too much time. When this happens, the people who are running the presentation will often have to step in and tell us to wrap it up. When a company realizes that one of their managers has a problem with talking too much, they will often bring in a speech coach to provide manager training and work with the manager in order to find a way to solve this problem.

When a manager is working with a speech coach, the coach will often help them to rehearse short scripts in order to make sure that the manager is able to deliver it in the time that has been allocated for it. Another technique that a coach may use it to make sure that the manager has a friend in the audience who can signal them when they have reached the end of their assigned talking time. One popular technique is for managers who talk too much to start to picture the word “WAIT” on the foreheads of the people that they are talking to. This is an acronym that stands for “Why Am I Talking?”. Seeing this may help the manager to wrap things up quicker.

Managers who talk too much have to be especially careful when they go looking for their next job. We all like to talk and when we are asked a question during a job interview we may ramble on in an effort to impress the person that we are talking with. We need to remember to keep our responses short and to the point. Additionally, there will be times that we know that we’ll be given a very short period of time in which to deliver some information. In these circumstances we need to take the time to both write out what we are going to say and then practice saying it. In the end, as managers we need to realize that we need to learn to spend more time listening to what people are telling us than talking to them.

What All Of This Means For You

Words are how we communicate. For some managers, we tend to use too many words when we want to communicate with a person or a group of people. These managers develop a reputation for being long winded and always exceeding the amount of time that they have been allocated to talk in during team building activities. This can become a career limiting situation that needs to be be fixed. Managers have to get control of their words!

Talking too much can hurt a manager in a number of different settings. One of the most important of these settings is the job interview. There is only a limited amount of time for an interview to take place and if we take up all of the time talking, then things are not going to go well for us. We need to understand that when others see us as being someone who talks too much they may believe that we have a big ego or that we simply don’t prepare when we talk. The world in which we live has changed and now wants us to keep things short. Many companies will bring in a speech coach to help a manager who talks too much. A variety of techniques can be used to help reduce the amount of talking that the manager does. Job interviews and limited speaking times require a manager to very carefully limit the number of words that they use. They need to do more listening and less talking.

The good news about the problem of managers who talk too much is that this is a problem that can be fixed. The critical first step is that we need to realize that we have a problem and then we need to take steps to fix it. Once we’ve been able to get the amount that we talk under control, we’ll be well positioned to become a manager who knows how to effectively communicate.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Management Skills™

Question For You: What should you do if you suddenly realize that your speaking time is up but you are not finished?

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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time

So has your office gone to one of those “open office” floor plans? According to the really smart people, there are a lot of advantages of this kind of open office design. However, one of the downsides to it is that it can be all too easy for someone to show up unannounced at your desk and interrupt the work that you are doing no matter how good your manager skills are. We want them to go away and just leave us alone to do our work. In this kind of open office, what can a manager to in order to tell the world that we just want to be left alone?

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