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November 29, 2011

When It Comes To Speaking, Less Is Often More

IStock_0self talkllI often watch couples in my office struggle with the ripple effect caused by using a “wall of words.”  A wall of words is when a person speaks on and on about an issue, complaint, story, idea or piece of information to such a degree that they lose the attention of the person they are speaking with.  Women, in particular, struggle with using a wall of words.  As a result, the men in their lives end up tuning the women out.

Using a wall of words is not the same as discussing an issue, sharing feelings or having interesting conversations.  All of these actions are healthy forms of communication.  When women use a wall of words it can sound like nervous chatter, restating of the information again and again, random thoughts, belaboring a point and overall excessive talk.  Often the women are aware of this pattern, however have a difficult time controlling it.  If they are not aware of this habit, they often are aware of their partners tuning them out or not listening.

If you have a tendency to speak at great length, ramble or have difficulty getting to the main point, you likely use a wall of words.  When women communicate in this way, they weaken their message.  The more a woman (or man) excessively talks, the less people around them will listen.  It becomes too difficult to filter the important from the frivolous aspects of the information.

If you want to be heard, pay attention to how you speak.  If you’re nervous, take some time to gain clarity about your message before you speak it.  Once you are ready to speak it, do so in a succinct, lasered fashion.  This is especially true regarding issues of upset.  Identify the main point, get to it quickly and make your request directly.  Don’t go on and on about what you don’t like.  Instead, ask for what you want.

The clearer you are in your speaking, the more people will tune in.  If you are tired of people telling you to get to the point, tuning you out, finishing your sentences or interrupting you, then it’s time to look at how you speak.  Instead of complaining about how others don’t listen, tune in to how you speak.  Your words are important—don’t use them as a wall to keep people at bay.

Challenge:  If you struggle with using a wall of words, pay attention to how you speak.  Slow yourself down, get clear and say it straight.  Make a request if you have one.  Share your opinion succinctly.  State what is upsetting you in three sentences or less.  Then wait.  Stay calm and don’t fill in the space with anxious chatter. 


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Yes, I am totally agreed with that concept about the wall of words because I have been suffering from this. I have had two girl friends and both of them were struggling control it. I told them to stop it, however they could not and I just left the second one because of only this reason. This is annoying as well as irritating.

Well the Best rule when you see that you partner is mad at you is to stay quite for that moment and when he's back to his normal form then discuss that point with your partner. Its the best way to deal with an argument and it really works.

I can exactly relate to this.. because it happens to me. I have this habit of excessive speaking and sharing almost my every thought.. its like a stream of consciousness and I blurt out that stream to him directly, only noticing that he is not interested and it makes me angry!! Great points.. I'll focus on my speech from now onwards!!

Often times I know I do this. I know exactly when I tune my husband out. And then I even get angry with him when I know he's not listening...I don't mean to babble or go on and on, I just like to get my feelings out.

Interesting point of view. I'm a professional keynote speaker and I often tell my audiences on how to speak clearly, and just how important our words are.

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