In public, avoid talking often and excessively about your accomplishments and dangers, for however much you enjoy recounting your dangers it’s not so pleasant for others to hear about your affairs.
Epictetus, Enchiridion, 33.14
Today’s question was where am I a loudmouth?
Historically, I’ve been a poor conversationalist. I don’t know if it is because I was introverted, or socially autistic. When someone would ask me questions, I would get a little too into my answers and forget to turn the conversation back to them.
How have I resolved this over time? Through a few quotes I’ve heard through my life:
- You’ve two eyes, two ears and one mouth. Use them proportionately.
- The smarter I’ve become with time, the less I talk.
Because of these quotes, personal coaching, personality testing, and experience, I tend to talk less now, in general.
Instead, in a conversation, I attempt to control the narrative by asking question, after question, after question. In doing that, I am able to learn about my conversation partner and take a genuine interest in their life. It’s allowed me to strengthen my relationships with colleagues and I tend to put my foot in my mouth less often than I used to. That cannot be bad for my career.
I set a goal to listen, listen, listen in conversations or meetings. In most conversations or dialogues at work, I first seek to understand.
Where am I still a loudmouth? Interviews. 100%. When I am hiring someone and they ask me why I like what I do, or why they should work for my team, I get so passionate, I can barely contain myself and I talk, and talk, and talk. Eventually, I catch myself and do clarify that I hope I answered more questions than they asked and try to turn it back to them with more questions. I guess, bottom line, when I get excited and passionate about something, I still get too into the conversation and could improve.
When my coach asked me how I wanted to see myself with time, I told him I envisioned a Buddhist monk who had knowledge they could share with their team. Someone generally silent, who listened and asked questions, as needed, to allow his counterpart to solve their own issues.
100%, this is something I am going to focus on continuing to improve for the rest of my life, including partaking in silent retreats and possibly doing a Masters in Servant Based Leadership.
Time will tell.
Until next time,