Some say talking is a woman’s sport. I would assume that women tend to talk a bit more than men, but in the book The Female Brain, Louann Brizendine, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California in San Francisco, reveals that women speak more than twice the number of words in a day than men do. Though that point is often debated, a recent study out of the University of Maryland explains why women might be the more talkative sex.
We may love to talk, but there are many instances where it is more appropriate — and will get you further — if you just bite your tongue. Here are five common personalities of talkative women and some chatty mistakes to avoid:
- The Nervous Speaker: Nervous speaking is often triggered by a deep discomfort. It can sound strange and be a little off-putting to people. It’s not that they won’t forgive you, but it’s not a good impression to make. Nervous chatter manifests in a myriad of different ways. From bizarre tangents in conversation to revealing a bit too much information, nervous chatter is uncomfortable for everyone and is best avoided. If you feel the need or know that you do this, practice being silent for a simple count of three while you compile your composure. It’s better to look like you’re thinking than to sound like you’ve had too much coffee!
- The Problem Fixer: This is usually attributed to men. However, plenty of women do it too. When speaking to a client or even friends, do you find yourself constantly offering solutions? Maybe you even volunteer to fix the problem yourself, only to fail to deliver later or forget. We love to help each other but you can’t help everyone all the time. Reserve yourself and fix your own problems.
- The Empathetic Interrupter: It’s great to let people know you understand them. But, your desire to express this can sometimes lead to behavior that borders on interruptive. A simple nod of the head or “mm hmm” is plenty. Wait until they have completely finished their thought and then wait another five whole seconds. Sometimes people are just pausing to collect their thoughts and your voice can interrupt that flow. Especially in business situations, listen to your clients and don’t talk them to death with your well-intentioned, oh-that-happened-to-me-once stories. Save it for when the project’s over.
- The Name-Dropper: It’s easier than you think to come off like a name-dropper. Let people ask you for your credentials BEFORE you offer them. Don’t be overly excited to yam on and on about big names you have worked with or titles you have had – it doesn’t tend to impress people like you think it would. Sometimes it even alienates them. It’s best to be discreet and only reveal when asked or appropriate. Be more interested in your client; that’s what will earn you business.
- The Catchphraser: Canned responses are just that. Many people will latch on to a saying and use it over and over again. The problem with doing this can be the association you create with your personal brand — in other words, YOU. Sometimes it’s just one word. I’ve even caught myself doing it now and again. I’ll keep nodding my head and saying something like “right, right, right” over and over again. Mostly it’s harmless, but it’s better to try and refine your spoken reflexes and rein them in rather than letting them become the most memorable thing about you.
The way we speak, and the words we choose, can impact our relationships, personal brands, and overall reputations. Be mindful of the power of your speech, and when you catch yourself fitting into one of the aforementioned archetypes, take a second to check in and ask yourself, “Do I need to be saying this right now?” Remember that the right words at the right time can go a long way.
Natalie MacNeil is an Emmy Award-winning media entrepreneur, Founder of SheTakesOnTheWorld.com, and the bestselling author of She Takes on the World: A Guide to Being Your Own Boss, Working Happy, and Living on Purpose. SheTakesOnTheWorld.com was featured by Forbes on its list of “10 Best Sites for Women Entrepreneurs.”
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
Reprinted with permission from the YEC: 5 Conversation Faux Pas to Avoid