Studying for an MSc in Psychology often brings up areas for me to reflect, into how we communicate. This week a fellow student was asked to give feedback on a piece of work she submitted and I found myself listening to her speaking about her home, the desk she worked on and how long the work took her. I found myself reflecting on the importance of expressing ourselves succinctly.

I myself am prone to over-talking and it is something I can struggle with, but experiencing it from another reminded me how unhelpful and irritating it can be. The knock on effect may be that people might not want to work or do business with you – ultimately this will have a knock on effect on your career advancement.

The first step is awareness. Pay attention to how you communicate. Can you relate to any of the following?

1. Giving too much information. When someone asks a question, they want a satisfying response. Answering your clients questions quickly and succinctly will build trust and respect.

2. Using too many words. People understand what we are saying very quickly. Remember 87% of communication is non-verbal. Over explaining yourself isn’t necessary and may end up patronising your listener. 

3. Repeating yourself. Make your comments, and then be quiet. Repeating your points can annoy others.  

4. Repeating what someone said in different words. Alongside being unnecessary, it actually gives away that perhaps you weren’t listening properly to what has already been said and frustrate your listeners.

5. Speaking when it is not necessary. This can happen if you don’t read the cues from others that no more discussion is needed; or if you insist on offering additional points at the end of a meeting when everyone else is ready to leave.  

Next time you are in a conversation, check in with yourself. Are you over-talking? Have you repeated what someone else has already said? Once you gain awareness, you can eliminate this habit.