"Too Much Information" can be to Your Advantage … Or Your Undoing!

For the people that spend so much more time talking than listening, I want to offer up yet another reason to talk less. 

Many times others will share more information IF you let them.  Maybe you ask a few questions and make a point to not interrupt the answers.  Maybe you just don’t say much for some period of time and watch how others will become uncomfortable and fill the silence.

I don’t suggest you trick anyone.  And if the topic becomes inappropriate, unethical or illegal, please stop the other person (even it if is by tactfully and quickly changing the subject).  However, I know that many people will voluntarily share very interesting information that can be useful to you as you negotiate or evaluate potential transactions, projects, deals, sales and purchases.

I had a colleague once call me and say, “I just babble when I am around this certain client.  I know I do it.  But I don’t know why.” 

I’ve been in meetings with this particular client.  The client is a great, long-term client that also happens to be great at sitting quietly, even after you answer a question or make a point.

I suggested that my colleague was uncomfortable with the silence and thus was automatically filling in that silence. 

Sure enough, my colleague called me back later after a meeting and said I was exactly right.  And now that she was aware of it, she had stopped babbling and it helped the meetings move on along to a faster closure.  

We decided the client was a “master” at the tool of silence.  We mean it as a compliment.

Likewise, another lesson here is to not share more than you should.  Be very honest and forthcoming, just be sure it is appropriate and professional. 

Are you revealing too much about your business, your deals and your clients?  

Are you really listening when others are speaking?

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About the Author

Glenn S. Phillips works with leaders who want to leverage technology and understand risks within. An author and blogger, Glenn is often quoted in national media, plays a really ugly tuba (it even has a bullet hole) and is a fan of dark chocolate and great puns.