Stop Yapping. Start Communicating.


“Yap yap, you’re talkin’ too much, mmm
yes far too much…
you know you talk too much
yeah yap, yap, yap, its driving me down…”
– ‘Yap Yap’ by Keith Richards

Are you guilty of talking too much? Are you communicating? Are you long winded when you speak? Why? Sometimes it’s because we’re nervous or maybe it’s because we just love the sound of our own voice, or maybe we’re excited or had too much caffeine or simply have so much to say that we begin an overwhelming monologue. Actually, often, we feel so uncomfortable with silence that we feel obliged to fill every silent space with chatter!

While you go on and on, is the other person still listening? When we yap, people run away – if not physically then mentally. Most likely the other person spaced out ages ago, and all they’re hearing is “blah-blah-blah”. What we miss when we talk too much is the opportunity to build a rapport.

Now, here’s the thing, talking is good but a conversation is not a monologue. After all, a good conversation has an easy ebb and flow. Communicating is like a ball that’s tossed from person to person, with no one holding on to it for too long. So, don’t mistake verbal diarrhea for effective communication. Learn to share the conversation – speak, listen, speak, listen….

Reset your speaking habits. Talk, but zip up the yapping.

To be a good conversationalist:

– Slow down, take a deep breath and think before you speak. As you venture into a conversation, use words meaningfully.

– As you talk, it’s probably a good idea to check yourself: Have I been talking for too long? Can I say what I have to say in fewer words? Have I given the other person time to respond?

– Talk less and listen more. Don’t be an interrupter. Don’t assume you know what the other person will say – you don’t. Let them finish before you jump in. Be interested in what the other person has to say, and don’t feel you have to fill all the dead air – be comfortable with the silent spaces.

– Be a good listener and stop getting caught up in your head or sidetracked by your emotions. Listen with full attention.

This blog is part of “The A – Z Challenge”, shifting one negative habit a week into a positive. For more info on the challenge, click here:

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