Talking is like drinking a great Cabernet. Listening is like doing squats.

talking too much

  • “Take this simple test: After your next long conversation with someone, estimate what percentage of it you spent talking. Be honest. No, you’re already underestimating. How do I know? Because it’s more fun to talk than to listen. Add another 20% to your total. If you talked more than 70% of the time, you jabber too much.”
  • “An optimal conversation flow has each person talking about 50% of the time. This is the Ali-Frazier of good give-and-take.”
  • “But, you say, what if your talking partner is just quiet and loves to listen? Stop it. She doesn’t. Listening is like reading a corporate report. Talking is like eating a cinnamon bun.”
  • So how do you achieve this 50-50 conversational ideal? Easy: ask questions. But don’t think that one “How are you?” is going to turn you into Oprah. Actually listen to what the other person is saying, and find openings.”
  • “But if you’re talking about someone whom your conversation partner doesn’t know, especially a mother, keep it short—one minute tops, unless it’s a truly fantastic story.”
  • “I can hear you complaining already: “One minute? But I need to include all the details.” No you don’t…Your job is to quickly entertain and inform, and then to ask good questions…”
  • “Also, let your chattering breathe a little. One dastardly arrow in the big talker’s quiver is to slow down in the middle of his sentence, then to blow through the period so that there’s no opening for anyone to squeeze a word in.”
  • “Another essential rule is to monitor your audience. Is the guy you’re talking to glancing at his cellphone, spinning his Dorito like a paper football or making his tie into a noose? If so, pull the ripcord and ask him if Heineken is his favorite beer, since you’ve just seen him drain five of them. Watch how relieved he is to have a turn to talk!”

~ Rob Lazebnik, a writer on “The Simpson’s. See full article @ It’s True: You Talk Too Much

I have a few ‘acquaintances’ that could benefit from these tips. 🙂

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  1. Mindful listening is a skill that needs to be learned by everybody, not just communicators! 😉 Jenny


  2. I forwarded this to my husband. 🙂


  3. Omg. I definitely need to ask more questions!


  4. This is so true! I learned recently that especially if you want to vent you should put a time limit on it – 5 minutes tops. The person listening shouldn’t have to endure more than that!


  5. LaDona's Music Studio says:

    Guilty. On many points.
    I know a handful of people who are truly great listeners – must emulate them more.


  6. I like to listen. It allows me to gather intelligence.


  7. Barneysday says:

    Most excellent and thanks for sharing. Sadly, I see more of me in here than I’d like to admit.


  8. sincere and thoughtful listeners are highly developed souls. they hold the power of the conversation in their heart.


  9. I actually prefer to listen. When I talk I struggle. Unless I’m asking questions about what the other person has said, I prefer not to talk about myself at all. Which some have said is also not cool. Guess so. In grad school we have to take a year’s course on active listening. That, and another two semester course on ethics have stayed with me for a long time.


    • Me too (prefer to listen), to a point. Recall, two separate events. Telephone call where the other party spoke for 43 of 45 minutes (I timed it). The second was an interview where the candidate spoke for 55 of 60 minutes. (I did question why I stuck it out in both and just didn’t interrupt and close.)

      I didn’t have a “listening” class in college or grad school. And my ethics classes didn’t leave the impression on me that it did on you.


  10. Conversation is an art. People get lost in their stories, wandering into a thicket of detail that won’t let go. It takes concentration and a sense of timing to edit on the fly. And the ability to split one’s attention to craft the story while watching the listener’s reaction. Performance art, maybe.


  11. I’ve always thought that being a good listener was one of the toughest things one can do, and also one of the most generous. When I look at my friends, it is the ones who take the time to listen whose opinions I most value and whose companionship I most cherish. I try to be mindful of that always and return the favor. There’s an Indian proverb that says, “Listen or thy tongue will keep thee deaf.” Seems pretty unambiguous to me, so when I find myself blathering (and I know I can be guilty of it), I try to give myself a little, mental “kick in the pants.”


  12. Reblogged this on Movers, Shakers, Leadership Makers.


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