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. 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.