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Be Wise And Shut Up

February 1, 2018 fm

So often in life it would be wiser to say … nothing. But – it is so hard to shut up; it is so hard for me to shut up. Think about all the fights you had with your partner(s) in your entire life. Wouldn’t it have been wiser to bite your tongue more often than once?

Relationships is one thing. But there are other moments in life when you definitely do not want to open your mouth – at all! One of them occurs at the end of your talks.

I call it Post Speech Armageddon.

Picture the scene. You’ve just finished your presentation. You placed your call to action. You built the “drainpipe” and connected the last phrase to the first sentence. By doing so, you made that horrible “Thank you” obsolete. Well done! Your arms are tight at your side now. You receive your well-deserved applause. After three seconds of receiving your “gift” you walk back to your seat. All is good until …

You see, show time starts the moment you stand up to speak. Show time ends the moment you sit back in your seat. You cannot spoil those first and last impressions.

On the way back to your seat you start complaining about your performance. You are visibly upset because you forgot a main point. Soliloquy takes over. And your audience? They witness your struggle. Plus, the microphone is still on.

Learn to shut up! If you don’t shut up after your talk, you diminish your authority unnecessarily. Why would you want to do that?

Same thing in meetings. A hackler makes a destructive comment on your presentation just after you finished. You are still standing there. Your natural reaction: fight back. But the only person who will lose this power game is you. Whenever you are standing in front of a group of people, you are the perceived leader in room. As a leader you want to protect your authority. Authority is a main driver of ethos. Ethos means credibility. Leaders need credibility.

Instead of fighting back, smile back, give that person an acknowledging nod and sit down. Once you sit, you can play your ace: emotional intelligence. But that would lead us to a whole new subject.

Simply put: Never ever lose your poise until you sit back in your seat. Don’t talk, don’t fight back, don’t even cough. You are still in the spotlight.

Be wise and shut up!

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