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  • Tracy Hooper

When someone tells you, "You talk too much."

On a recent flight from Portland to Denver, a guy sitting behind me talked non-stop. No exaggeration. For the entire two-plus hour flight, he never came up for air. Everyone in his vicinity heard all about his move from L.A. to Colorado. His fabulous vacations - skiing, snorkeling, biking, and wine tasting. His college days, law school days. His kids, grandkids, and his Corgis!

Occasionally, he’d ask his neighbor, “How about you? Did you ever play an instrument?”

“Yeah,” the gentleman replied, “I play the trumpet.”

“You should have been in a marching band.”

His neighbor commented, “I was… for 20 years.”

“Cool. Well, ya know, when I was a kid, my mom begged me to learn piano…” And he was off to the races!

When we landed, the fellow said to his neighbor, “Hey, thanks for the conversation. You know, my wife says I talk too much. What do you think?” His seatmate politely said, “Don’t worry about it.” Whatever he meant by that, he was being kind!

If your spouse or friend or coworker or client or boss tells you, “You talk too much.” Believe them. A random seatmate on a flight anywhere won’t tell you the truth.

Here’s The Confidence Project Pro Tip: Discipline yourself with “Three Sentences and a Period.”

At the end of that 3rd sentence, stop talking. Pause. Then ask something like,

  • What do you think?

  • What’s your advice?

  • Tell me about your experience.

Then. LISTEN. When you offer breathing space, it gives people a chance to catch up to what you’ve said, process it and jump in if they want.

Remember: don’t create run-on sentences by sticking “and…uhh…but…ya know…” between two thoughts. That will make your three sentences more like six. That’s rambling. And it’s boring.

For the next 30-days, practice “Three Sentences and a Period.” And enjoy a real conversation.

Thanks for reading.

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