Do You Know When to Stop?

Communication-Speaker-Colette-CarlsonOne of my challenges as a keynote motivational speaker is winnowing down my message to fit an allotted time slot. I want the audience to walk away having gained valuable insight. So I’ve had to become adept at knowing what to cut and what is essential. This skill – knowing when you’ve said enough and having the savvy to zip it – is one many of us can use in our professional interactions. Let me explain how this might work in the real world. Say you’re interviewing for a job and are asked to share an example of a time you took initiative. You immediately launch into a recap of the Excel project you took on that revamped your sales team’s expense reporting. You pause and the interviewer says nothing.

Now’s the perfect time to ask, “Would you like me to elaborate?” But instead, your nerves get the better of you, and you go off on a five-minute monologue, bringing up every detail of the project, barely pausing for breath. Now, unfortunately, the interviewer is likely questioning your ability to deliver information clearly and concisely.

Here’s the takeaway: Get comfortable with silence. Once you’ve said what needs to be said, stop.


Step into the Truth Booth, improve your life, and laugh along the way with funny motivational speaker Colette Carlson. How did she go from emotional coward and the Pizza Delivery’s favorite customer to #1 sales producer for sales legend Tom Hopkins and Brian Tracy, featured in Success Magazine, a 50 lb. weight loss, and inspiring audiences at Microsoft, Accenture, Pepsi, Boeing, and organizations worldwide? Visit her at or call 760-230-1212.

Colette founded Speak Your Truth, Inc. to share her success systems and inspire others to Think It! Speak It! Live It! Her tools and takeaways create authentic, long-lasting change in every aspect of your life. With a MA in human behavior, a successful business and 2 teenage daughters, Colette provides a unique combination of education, research, real-life experience, and heartfelt humor to motivate you with her high content programs. Improve your Communication Skills, Work-Life Balance, Sales, Leadership, Assertiveness, Negotiation…all wrapped in the genuine power of Speaking Your Truth.

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  1. Good advice Colette! I use that method a lot on stage. I tell myself "Make the point and leave."  Some people have a tendency to make the point, and then make it again, and then recap it or explain it better.  When it's much more powerful to just drop the line and walk away.

  2. Excellent advice, Colette! Many motivational speakers get enamoured with the sound of their own voice  – but we aren't the only ones. There are lots of people who could benefit from what you suggest. Get comfortable with silence.  And to support your idea – I think I'll stop espousing my POV now.

  3. Kelly and Linda are right on when they say this is good advice, and not just for motivational speakers, or job interviewers like in your blog.  This is good for anyone who wants to be and sound more credible and confident.  Isn't there a saying that during negotiation, the first to speak loses?  I think in communication, the one who rambles on unnecessarily, loses.  Shutting up now…

  4. Yes Colette!  I coach my executives in my STARS method (State your point.  Talk briefly about it.  Ask for questions. Review briefly.  STOP talking.)  it is always the final S that is the most challenging – and the most liberating for my clients.  Great reminder!  

  5. Great reminder is right! I do much better at this on stage compared to everyday conversation because I stick close to my script.  Will you be my director in life and yell "CUT" into a megaphone when I start repeating and rewording my point??


  1. […] One of my challenges as a keynote motivational speaker is winnowing down my message to fit an allotted time slot. I want the audience to walk away having gained valuable insight.  […]

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