The brain is a fascinating and complex organ; deep within this amazing neural mass is an area known as the limbic system.
Simply stated, the limbic system is in charge of emotional responsibility, memory formation, a sense of smell, and an alert system to keep ourselves safe. When it becomes over stimulated, strong feelings result, from frenzy to panic. One way the limbic system becomes over stimulated is to talk too much.
If the emotional center is over activated we tend to talk more. A downward spiral can develop, jumping into conversations too quickly, and worse, talking before weighing one’s words. Everyone has emotions, and in many ways, emotions are a good thing, and talking is good, but overly excited states can cause us to say foolish things. Then too, what we say can become convoluted and complex.
Psychologists describe a condition called response latency. It is the time for a person to react to something. Is it no surprise then, that if one talks too much, the response latency is short. It is all too common, unfortunately, to see those who jump into a conversation, often with bad consequences.
Four suggestions to help those who are inclined to say more than they should or cannot keep from jumping in when it would be better to wait:
- Make an effort to restrain from talking until you are sure you have the proper composure. See that a build of tension and urgency to speak as a sign that you should hold off and “bite your tongue.”
- Make a log or journal to see how long it takes to respond to someone’s words. Strive to increase your response latency from one second to two seconds and even three.
- Increasingly, people are using short phrases, sentences, and paragraphs. That is good, it works! Concentrate on what you have to say with style and class. Don’t ramble, rant, and rehash.
- When finding it difficult in a conversation or a meeting to hold back being emotional, focus your attention briefly on something else. It could be your watch, a painting in the room, or some piece of paper. Of course, try to do this inconspicuously without offending your colleagues. However, again, this does work.
Communication is vitally important in our work and our personal lives. One’s relationships, effectiveness, and business success heighten and strengthen when one gives attention to enhancing their speaking and listening skills.