Talking much, eh? Here’s when to shut the h*ll up

The power of knowing when (not so) say the right thing

Communication is the key to human development. Speaking of verbal communication in particular, the ability to use our voice to express ourselves has been the far most useful tool in modern interaction. We sing, we talk, and we do so in a fascinating amount of varying ways. Some of those ways may not turn out to be the most eloquent of timings, choice of words and tones of voice – leading to somewhat inconvenient situations. How shall a human being with good intentions deal with all of that?


Have a chat – When to say what you think and how to go by

Any interaction involving people includes a huge set of real-time analytical moments and strategies for which there isn’t too much time. In a job interview, it’s not as though you could pause the conversation for 15 minutes, draw a model for successfully replying to a question and then press “play” again to get the job done.

There are thousands of books, articles and courses available to improve communication skills of all sorts, emphasizing everything from having a clear goal, to preparing by writing your words of choice down before actually saying them out loud.

Of course, depending on the situation, some methods might be more useful than others, even exceeding your expectations and making happy happen big times. In other cases, a promised method for communicating will prove to be the worst choice mankind has ever experienced in terms of verbally expressing yourself.

That naturally leads to the question of how to choose the right tool in communicating.

Well, first of all, the best way of making anything work is to simplify it – that is, cut the BS. All of it. All time wasted on developing a strategy for talking to another human being is going to fail if you’re not clear on one basic aspect – the one you’re talking to is another human being.

“A question that sometimes drives me hazy: am I or are the others crazy?”
– Albert Einstein

Therefore, choosing whatever strategy, whichever choice of words, will only be a success if it’s all authentic. Which it isn’t if it has been practiced down to every single syllable. So keep that on a reasonable level and leave plenty of room for improvisation.

If you find yourself to be in a situation where you’ve got the perfect timing to state what’s on your mind, but it wasn’t planned in your model for how to make this particular conversation happen – what’s the best choice, to go on or to stick to the model?

You know the answer to that question.

Shutting up when you’ve got a great set of words at the tip of your tongue

Keeping in mind that people have a fairly advanced BS detector by default, reality could be an amusing place in times of communication. Sometimes, you’ll find yourself in situations where you’d really like to point out the idiocy of another human being, someone’s mad point of view or maybe even someone’s inability to perform whatever task they’re performing.

That’s not always a great idea, especially when considering the reasons for why you’d like to do it. If your remark will help improve a situation, and your choice of words will be of the supportive kind, then go ahead. The conversation may be a bit uncomfortable at first, but will pretty quickly move onto a mutual understanding of sharing a common goal.

However, when you’re really pissed the F off, the choice of words aren’t of the friendly sort.

You may have the urge to use bad words, to say something about someone’s behavior reminding you of a certain body part, even pointing out something about someone’s mother or other family members.

Regardless of how therapeutic such a choice may be in the short run, long-term thinking is usually the best mindset to use if the goal of communicating is to do so successfully.

If you’re mighty pissed off and completely indifferent to the outcome, then go for it.


Evolving a sensibility for language and verbal communication

Verbally flipping out could be a fun way of ending one chapter of your life, but it’s not the way of dealing with everyday situations. We’re highly interconnected today, and this means adding several layers of aspects to consider when talking to someone.

Cultural backgrounds can be sensitive issues for some people, while others may not enjoy discussing religious or political aspects of life. Someone who is travelling a lot might evolve a short sight for other costumes, while others may gain a huge understanding for people and societies.

What differentiates people is one aspect to keep in mind when talking, but even more important is understanding what we all have in common. Everyone likes authenticity, as is the case with respect and attentiveness.

Even when an initial interaction gets out of hand, referring to those common values usually influences everyone involved in the chat to get back in business.

This is why the one and only important aspect of communicating successfully is evolving a sensibility for all things communication.

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