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If you’ve got nothing to say then… don’t

Every office has one.

If you don’t know who it is, then it’s probably you.

The person who uses 200 words when 10 would do.

The last person to stop talking at team meetings.

The person who’s emails require scrolling just to get to the bloody point.

The person people dread phoning in case they get stuck for ages and end up with the dreaded ‘hot ear’ syndrome.

The person who feels the undeniable urge to continuously speak, even though most of what they say is utter bollocks.

Would you deliberately puke on someone in the office?

Because that’s what it’s like when they start talking.

Loquaciousness builds up in their stomach and into their throat, until they eventually lose control and spew their words.

Well now it’s time to shut up and listen.

Verbal communication is the most powerful, wonderful thing, and I encourage this instead of writing every time. (10 points for those that spot the irony here!)

Just remember that talking and communicating are not always that same thing.

Today try and pause before you speak – and not about what you are going to say, but whether you actually have anything relevant, or anything of value to say.

  1. If someone else has already said what you were going to say, then don’t speak.

  2. If you are not clear about what you want to say, then don’t speak.

  3. If you find yourself rambling, then stop.

  4. If you feel the build up of bombastic chunder in the back of your throat then swallow it down. (Unless you are actually going to puke, in which case aim it in the direction of a fellow chatterbox. That’s enough to shut anyone up)

  5. If you have nothing of value to add, then consider others and just shut up.

Just to be clear, this is not the same as not speaking because you are just along for the ride and can’t be bothered to get involved (more of this next week…)

It’s about listening to the conversation taking place, and understanding what relevant information you can add to the mix, or not.

I strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to participate in discussions, and should be actively encouraged to let their voice be heard. This is critical to any successfully functioning team or project.

But I also believe that you should make a deliberate choice about whether or not you are going to contribute anything, before speaking.

If not, then stop wasting my time, and yours.

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