If you are an extrovert, you are costing yourself career opportunities, ruining relationships and putting your foot into your mouth in professional and personal situations. Even if you’re an introvert, you may be doing the same.
I tell my clients to reduce the number of words coming from their mouths by at least 50%, and probably by 75%. Why? Here are a few reasons.
1). The more you talk, the more likely you are to say something really stupid. Talk less, and reduce your chances of making a fatal faux pas.
2). You are giving other people too much information. You never know what information will come back to bite you on the butt. The best way to keep it from doing so is not to let anyone else in on private information to begin with. If you’re flapping your jaws, you’re likely to let out some private info that you don’t want to.
3). People have to “dig through” the effluvium to find the gold. If you’re constantly talking, most of what you say is bovine effluvium. So when you say something important, people have a hard time distinguishing the bovine effluvium from anything valuable you’re actually saying.
4). You bore people to death. No, people don’t want to hear about the time in sixth grade when you won the three-legged race. Save these stories for family or friends who have to put up with you. Don’t bore your clients with them (unless the clients are among those friends who have to put up with you), and certainly don’t bore an interviewer with them when job searching.
5). It is hard to keep things straight. I tell the truth simply because lying is so hard to keep track of. But the more you say, the harder it is to keep things straight. Even if your mistakes are lapses of memory or simple mistakes, it can make you look either dishonest or flaky.
6). You won’t be trusted. The very first time you spout off your company’s confidential information, you are going to be deemed as untrustworthy. Try not to sound like Wikileaks.
7). You seem less trustworthy, anyway. People who talk a lot are deemed less trustworthy and honest than those who are a bit taciturn and play their cards close to the vest. By chattering on, you may be destroying your chances for advancement, either personally or professionally.
8). You seem less mature. Talking a great deal is a sign of immaturity to most people. By being quiet and reserved you will seem like a better choice for most jobs.
9). You seem slimy. If you talk a great deal, people will put the label of “slimy used car salesman” on you. If you’re a talker, you probably flatter people too much, give your opinion too much and BS too much. This makes you look incredibly slimy to most people. Is that really the image you want for yourself?
10). You almost certainly talk too fast. Talkers want to “get it all in.” This makes them speak very fast to get everything out of their head and into the airwaves. Not only does this make you seem immature, but it makes it hard to understand what you’re actually saying.
11). It’s rude. If you monopolize the conversation, you are a very rude person. The best thing to do is to facilitate the conversation of others and keep most of your opinions to yourself. That way, everyone will think you agree with them!
12). You can be labeled as the dreaded “Networking Nerd!” If you have ever “pinned” someone and bored them at a networking event, you are the dreaded “Networking Nerd!” People will dive under tables to get away from you. This, need I point out, is not very helpful to your networking success.