Nothing ruins a point like taking too long to make it. I’m very guilty of this so here’s my simple fix: I’m trying to talk less. To stop talking sooner. To quickly say what I mean and to say it better. It’s not because I don’t feel good about how I acquit myself it’s that I seem to be incapable of answering questions succinctly.
The problem is that when you go on and on, the message gets lost. In my case, people tend to tell me that they perceived me as competent, confident, and intelligent, but that they sort of missed my point. This is the good news and the bad news. Good news is I am being seen exactly the way I want people to see me, I’m communicating my brand well. Bad news is, I’m not being heard for what I’m saying! Good information is getting totally lost in rhetorical flourish and tangential indulgence, and that is a big problem.
If any us of want to be heard, we have to be good at saying what we mean. So, here are my new tactics for answering better when people ask me a question.
1. Restate the question (naturally, not like you’re writing a short answer essay)
2. Pause at the end of each sentence to give the asker a chance to participate in the discussion.
3. Check for understanding if you think you’re getting off track
4. If you feel you are getting off topic, you probably are, so JUST STOP TALKING. The other person will either ask a follow up question, or they will run with what you said.
I’ll check back in soon and let you know how these are working for me!