Why Being Talkative Hurts Your Business

December 14, 2017

Executives who talk too much aren’t as successful at customer pitches, networking events, board presentations, or job hunts, according to The Wall Street Journal. “Talkaholics,” as they’re called, tend to project poor preparation, an overblown ego, and low confidence, rather than impress with their verboseness, top executives told the Journal.

“Executives must make their point quickly,” says John Hartmann, CEO of True Value Co. A few years ago, Hartmann says, he had to interrupt a top lieutenant’s first presentation to the company’s board when he rambled on 10 minutes longer than his allotted half-hour time slot. Master communicators “spend far more time using their ears than their voices,” Hartmann says.

Some companies are hiring speech coaches to help teach executives the skill of brevity. The coaches will teach such things as rehearsing short scripts. Laurie Schloff, a senior coaching partner at Speech Improvement Co., suggests that talkative people should picture the word “WAIT”—the acronym for “Why am I talking?”—on a listener’s forehead. Speech coach Diane DiResta also suggests that speakers try to break down their script into a challenge, action, and result. Other speech coaches recommend that speakers pause occasionally to solicit feedback.

Source: “Talkaholics Sink Partnerships, Presentations—and Careers,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 13, 2017) [Login required.]