”One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.” –Bryant H. McGill”
Many people want to learn to talk less and listen more. Listening more can help you gain information, learn more about others, and learn to express yourself concisely.
If trying to think before you speak hasn’t helped you speak less, try paying attention to how long you’ve been talking. As you speak, check your audience’s body language to see if they’re paying attention, and stop if they seem bored or distracted. Though it might be uncomfortable at first, learn to be ok with silence, and try not to worry about impressing other people with your conversation skills.
- Minimizing When You Talk:- Speak only when it’s important. Before you speak, ask yourself if what you’re saying is truly important. You should avoid talking when you’re not really contributing to the conversation.
- People tend to listen to those who choose their words carefully. Someone who’s always sharing their opinion or telling stories may lose people’s interest with time. If you have a tendency to talk too much, you may find yourself constantly sharing information unnecessarily.
Avoid speaking to fill empty space. Oftentimes, people speak to fill empty space. You may find yourself speaking in professional situations, such as work or school, to ease your anxiety about silence. Sometimes, silence is okay and you do not need to talk just to fill space.
Think about your words carefully. If you talk too frequently, you may say the first thing that comes to mind without filtering yourself. Learning to speak less means learning to think about your words. Before saying something, try to think about the words you’re going to say ahead of time. This may help you learn to keep certain things to yourself, leading you to speak less overall.
- People often reveal information they’d rather keep private through speaking too much. When you think of something you want to add, especially if it’s something very personal, pause. Remember you can always share new information later, but you can never make information private again once you’ve shared it.
Avoid speaking to impress others. In work situations especially, people tend to talk too much to impress others. If you notice you talk a lot, think about whether you’re trying to show off.
- If you tend to talk too much to impress others, try to remind yourself others will be more impressed by what you say than how much you say.
- Instead of going overboard talking about yourself, reserve your input for moments when you can contribute something valuable to the conversation.
Listening More:- Focus only on the speaker. When in a conversation, do not look at your phone or glance around the room. Do not think about things like what you’re going to do after work or eat for dinner that night. Direct your attention solely on the speaker. This will help you listen better, as you’ll focus on what’s being said.
- Keep your eyes on the speaker most of the time. If you find other thoughts creeping in, remind yourself to return to the present and listen.
- Think about what the speaker is saying. Listening is not a passive act. While the speaker talks, it’s your job to listen to what they’re saying. Try to withhold judgment while you do so. Even if you disagree with what’s being said, wait your turn to speak. Do not think about how you’ll respond while the speaker is talking.
- Clarify what the speaker is saying. In any conversation, it will eventually be your turn to share. Before doing so, however, make it clear you were listening. Paraphrase in your own words what the speaker said and ask any questions you have. Do not repeat what the speaker said verbatim. Just rephrase your understanding of what they said. Also, keep in mind that active listening is meant to help you pay close attention to the speaker and let them know you are listening. Do not use active listening as a way to interject or make your opinions known.
Express yourself when necessary. Do not take speaking less to mean not asserting and expressing yourself. If you have a serious concern, or an opinion you feel is important, do not hesitate to speak up. Part of speaking less is knowing when it is valuable to share.
Keep an open mind when listening. Everyone has opinions and their own sense of what’s right and normal. When you’re listening very attentively to another person, they may sometimes say things you take issue with. However, while you’re listening, it’s important to keep judgment behind. If you find yourself making judgments about someone, pause and remind yourself to focus on the words. You can analyze information later. When listening, just focus on the speaker and leave judgment behind.