Excessive talking is when a person talks compulsively or excessively and it can create a social burden for both the talking person and their listeners.
- WHEN POSSIBLE, SAY NOTHING
Pretend words are money, and spend them wisely. Be Dirty Harry, not Prince Harry.
- MASTER THE POWER OF THE PAUSE
Take a breath. Wait. Let the other person process what you’ve said.
- QUIT SOCIAL MEDIA
The first cousin of overtalking is overtweeting. If you can’t quit completely, at least dial it way back.
- SEEK OUT SILENCE
Detach. Unplug. Giving your brain a rest can kick-start your creativity.
- LEARN HOW TO LISTEN
Instead of just hearing someone, practice active listening. Pay fierce attention to the other person.
FOR MOST OF US, talking is like breathing. You don’t think about it; you just do it. But when you start paying attention to how you speak, this leads you to think about why you speak the way you do. You’re forcing yourself to become conscious of something that usually happens unconsciously. Now you’re doing the kind of work you might do with meditation or psychotherapy. You’re turning your attention inward. You’re engaging in self-reflection and self-examination. You’re figuring out who you are.
Better yet, I see the effect on the people around me. My marriage is stronger than ever. My daughter and I sit on the porch in the evening and have long conversations filled with laughter. If you are the parent of a high-school-age kid, you know how miraculous this feels. She tells me her dreams and what she thinks she might want to do with her life. She tells me about her fears and doubts. Instead of trying to solve her problems, I listen. Inevitably, she works her way around to solving them herself and concludes that she is going to be all right and that she knows what she needs to do. I discover that she has never felt confident playing Mozart and Haydn on the piano, and that now that she is going to a summer camp where she will have to play Haydn in a trio, she’s freaking out. She fears she might not be able to do it, but at the same time, she would rather try and fail than chicken out. I discover that I don’t just admire her, but that I’m inspired by her.Gradually, I began to develop more discipline, and as I did, something extraordinary happened: I started to feel better, both emotionally and physically. I’m not perfect, and I can’t always adhere to my own rules—but when I do, the results are magical. I feel calmer, less anxious, and more in control, which makes me less likely to overtalk. It’s a positive feedback loop: the less I talk, the less I talk.
I hear her—I hear all the people in my life who matter deeply to me, and now, when I do speak, they’re ready to listen.