Our commentary comes from New York Times bestselling author Dan Lyons, whose new book, “STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World” (Henry Holt), calls for less talking and more listening …
Sooner or later, every person who talks too much gets into trouble. You may offend someone, or hurt their feelings. You may lose your job or ruin a relationship.
I know, because I’m an unstoppable overtalker. I also know how hard it is to break a habit.
Part of this is because the tendency to overclock is hardwired into your brain, and you can’t change it. But also, we live in a world that practically forces you to talk too much.
Henry Holt & Co
Social media is designed for you to post, share, like and comment. And we’ve somehow come to believe that success is measured by your ability to attract attention. A tech company founder once told me that he values people by how many Twitter followers they have.
That was ridiculous. Look at Steve Jobs. He wasn’t on Twitter at all. He had zero followers. What was his price? Zero?
In fact, the most powerful and successful people talk less than other people and they listen more. They talk about purpose. And they understand the power of silence.
Barack Obama is one of the greatest speakers of all time, but he’s an even better listener. Richard Branson is a billionaire entrepreneur, and a big show-off in public, but he mostly takes notes in meetings. Anna Wintour is one of the most powerful people in media and fashion, and she’s famously quiet. No one knows what’s going on behind these sunglasses.
I’ve discovered that talking less gives you an advantage in almost every aspect of life. You can get a promotion, or negotiate a better salary. You will almost certainly make a good parent and partner.
The best thing is that you will not only improve your own life; You will improve the lives of people around you.
There are thousands of books and classes that teach you how to become a better speaker. What we need to learn is how to be silent.
Read an excerpt: “STFU: The Power of Keeping Your Mouth Shut in an Endlessly Noisy World” by Dan Lyons
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Story produced by Aria Shavelson. Editor: Chad Cardin.