“Overtalking” should be a word and a warning. Do you ever talk to fill the silence gaps? Many people do it out of discomfort yet it causes awkwardness. It’s ok, even preferable to be quiet and wait for someone else to contribute to the conversation. Friendly small talk is fine but a meaningful exchange is more memorable and less open to misunderstanding or slips of the tongue, says everyone from Dr Phil to language theorists. People evaluate you by how and what you say – interpreting your words, body language, facial expression and timing simultaneously – that’s easier to get right if you are measured, not all momentum. Someone aiming to take advantage of you can also glean a lot from what you say because you reveal information you didn’t intend to share by over-talking.
Practise active listening with the pause and smile technique –say “what do you think?” and wait. Don’t use the time to prepare your reply; just listen. I enjoy training people in in key messages and speaking in “grabs” for media interviews – I think the same principles apply universally. Simply remember what you mean to say, say it succinctly and repeat as necessary – aim to convey one key message per sentence. It’s easier for people to listen and really hear you and it’s easier to talk about what matters to you. The rest is chatter.