Have you ever worked with a ‘spinner’, someone who labours the point, overexplains (maybe even mansplains?!).

Whatever you call it, we all know a person at work who Talks.Too.Much.

Maybe that person is you? You’ll know if it is you if:
you’re always rushing to make your main point before your timeslot closes
anyone has ever said ‘get to the point please’
you’ve ever lost your way in the middle of your presentation / conversation

Why is that a bad thing?
Overexplaining / spinning / mansplaining instantly sends negative signals about you:
you’re nervous and filling the space (under-confident)
you think they’re stupid and they need the point to be laboured (arrogant)
you haven’t thought through what you’re going to say so you’re waffling on (lazy)
you have no regard for their most precious resource – time (disrespectful)
Not great.

So why do we do it?
You might actually be nervous and trying to cover it up. Top tip – you’re signalling your nerves from the rooftops. Chatter is what monkeys do when they are scared.
You’re not sure about the point you’re trying to make, or you have not prepared – so you’re holding the room until you work out what your point is. Extroverts are particularly bad at this – talking is a thought process for them. The problem is once you discover your point, everyone is asleep. You look ill-prepared, inarticulate and even, a boring time-hogger. Being succinct is far harder than overexplaining, and people will appreciate you more if you help them listen to your key points, rather than try to work out what points they should be listening to while you drone on.
Introverts don’t get off lightly either – they are often guilty of giving you too much context up front and taking the long route to get to the point. There’s about an 80% gap between what you want them to know and what they actually want (or even need) to know. So instead of telling a story that ends in a punchline, start with a headline and then give context.
You don’t think your audience have understood you. If you’re a technical expert, the chances are they haven’t -or certainly not the level that you would like. They don’t need to understand it to that level, and they probably don’t want to. So if they haven’t understood it sufficiently to appreciate it, your communication is at fault, not their comprehension.

What can we do about it?
Silence suggests confidence. Try not speaking as much for a session or two and see how much more impactful your words are when you do speak.
Think first, talk second. Make sure that what you do say has been prepared in your head before it comes out of your mouth.
Headlines not punchlines. Start with your punchline, then explain your context – not the other way around.
Message received. Deliver what they need to know, not what you want them to know. There’s an 80% reduction in talk-time right there.

Why else do people talk too much? And what other tips would you offer?


Rebecca is Australia’s pre-eminent advocate for B-suite leadership – the expert in developing hi-impact B-Suite leadership at both a team and individual level.

Speak to Rebecca about:

                        • Individual and group coaching
                        • Team effectiveness and training
                        • People & Culture Advisory


You can reach her on rebecca@boldhr.com

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