Speaking With Value

I love to talk. I love conversation. When I was younger, I spoke so much that my Mum told me if speaking were an Olympic sport I would most certainly win. I’ve always been talkative, I’ve always been able to fill lulls in conversation — but somewhere along the line I realised that although I was always being heard, I wasn’t always adding value.

Looking back to when I started working, all too often I would speak in a meeting so that I was heard, I’d say anything that felt relevant so that I wouldn’t fade into the background. I’d feel satisfied by how much I’d said, rather than whether what I’d said had value. Over time, I began to notice that some of what I’d say would flutter away unnoticed, and some would spark a reaction — it would enhance the conversation. As time went on, I began to consciously develop a filter before I spoke so that what I said was worth hearing.

Being the prominent speaker in a conversation is worthless if what you’re saying isn’t worth hearing. It’s easy to talk about ‘something’. It’s easy to break a silence with ‘something’. What takes thought is how what you’re going to say is going to shape the conversation. It’s selfish to steal other people’s opportunity to speak with something worthless. Think first. Talk after.

I still don’t fully appreciate silence and my filter isn’t quite perfect yet, but I’m now more aware than ever of what I’ll be breaking the silence with.

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