Silence really is golden

Sophie’s campaign for clear communication

Want to sound smart? Stop talking.

When I was a little girl, I loved to talk. Every thought that came into my head went out of my mouth. I was the youngest in a family of strong personalities, so getting anyone to listen was a big win. I learned to make the most of every gap in the conversation.

Talking became my ‘thing’. I was chatty, talkative and the life of the party. I even turned my love of talking into a career – I became a radio presenter and documentary maker for New Zealand’s public radio.

Now I’ve left the world of radio for a corporate life, I’ve learned how to really control the conversation… stop talking.

I spend the bulk of my working hours in meetings, workshops and endless conversations with my colleagues.

You’d think a chatty girl like me would be all over these opportunities to talk, but I find the less I talk the more I get out of a conversation. I learn more, argue less and can steer the conversation – with a few well-chosen words.

By being quiet, I have more impact when I speak. By listening, I have a better idea of where the conversation is going and how to steer it where I want it to go.

If you want to have impact in your next big meeting or workshop – try not talking. Or at least not talking until you can speak with impact.

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