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Know when to stop talking to advance your career

“Coaching isn’t therapy. It’s product development, with you as the product.”


job vs therapyPeople don’t automatically trust their employer. Uh, yeah, duh. Most of you are thinking “no kidding. The rest of you aren’t reading this. I am amazed the stories I hear when I tell people what I do. They try to understand how it fits into their world by asking me if, for example, those ropes courses, or I do the blind spider web game with team members. Ugh, no. I do assessments and work with people to improve their productivity through their communication skills and behavior¦. Oh my god does that sound like being sent to the principal’s office?

Naturally when I started to realize the repulsion factor I decided to rebrand my services along with myself. In that process I asked clients, what is my super power? We all have a super power which we may or may not recognize or honor. Well go into that in a different post. But for now a response I got is you’re particularly good at telling me what not to say. I said, all coach like, you mean strategize what words to use and how to get to the subject in a way that is social acceptable and potentially terrifically impactful? She said no, I mean when I should stop talking and when I should NOT say what’s going through my mind. Oh, you mean trusting the process and the person you’re talking to gets to explain themselves. No, she said rather insistently, that you helped me understand that not everything that’s in my mind has to come out of my mouth.

That’s when silence does a world of good. Silence and allowing the other person to talk builds trust.

So back to the new awareness of my super power how do I translate or make that scalable? I would say that in leadership communication, the power of silence is far greater than most chatter boxes know. Here’s how conversations go terribly wrong when saying too much:

  • Pent up feeling of need to express
  • Low comfort level with the uncertainty in silence
  • Power imbalance between the speaker and the audience
  • No clear idea of what the other party wants or needs
  • Previous history of conversations going differently than expected or needed

Do you feel the mistrust that is already in the conversation before you even open your mouth? Remember that communication is only 7% words. Maybe you remember that tone is 27% and the rest is how you show up. So, when you’re verbally dumping and the listener is trying to keep up with your rambling and the tone of panicky, frenetic delivery of what might be too much information. What will they do?

  • Tune out
  • Go through the process of buying and rejecting your request
  • Create escape plans
  • Plan your departure
  • Plan a new layer between you and them to insulate them from this type of situation

Did you think tune out was the worst thing they could be doing while having to listen to your reasonable explanation? How do you recognize you’ve said enough?

  1. Organize your thoughts
  2. Know when you’ve completed the intended topical points
  3. Stay on track
  4. Listen to yourself

My clients get promoted by building trust in themselves and those around them by doing these simple actions more often. There is little difference between an audience that you want to persuade to give you budget, head count, a promotion, a week off when there is no time. Be clear and be prepared but most importantly listen to yourself.

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Phone: +1 310-503-5856

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