Do You Have a Lot to Say or Are You Just Saying a Lot?

Recently, I got off an extended call with a client and said to my husband, “Well, he had a lot to say!” To which my husband responded, “But did he say a lot?”

This struck me as so smart (not to mention, funny) that I have been thinking about it ever since.

How frequently do many of us talk and talk and talk without contributing anything to the conversation? Sure, we might have feelings about something or feel quite certain we might know best—but is anything we are saying adding value to the topic? 

Speaking from my own experience, I know there are days when I’m just talking… (I have even caught myself saying, “Oh I’m just talking—I’m not attached to what I’m saying.”)

What are some ways we might contribute something of value to a conversation? 

Recently, I learned of a technique used at the Edward Lowe Foundation where—when someone is recounting their problem/situation—the only way you are allowed to respond is by saying, “When I was in a similar situation I did X” and then stop talking.

(It might sound simple, but it’s surprisingly tough.)

What this does is keep you grounded in what you know, rather than what you think: it keeps you out of “advice” mode because you aren’t allowed to follow up with anything along the lines of, “and I think it would work for you.”

What I’ve discovered since I began incorporating it into my life is that it has the potential to leave others thinking I have said a lot—not just that I have a lot to say.

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