On Talking in Business Settings

The other week I was chatting to a good friend of mine who shared an interesting story that illustrated a pet peeve of mine: That talking more about anything is better than being quiet.

Normally, I have found that in student settings in particular, it is thought that just saying something, regardless of what, makes you seem eager and get on the radar of the expert you are talking to. If you are talking to a person of “higher status” from an organization, you will often see people make up completely unnecessary things to say, just to speak.

I have experienced this many times myself in meetings both in general, and with young professionals with great ambitions. People sometimes just want to add things, to make sure they are seen and remembered. Even if this means almost completely just saying the same thing as another person said just before.

Why is this? Why are we taught that this is a good thing? One reason, I guess, is in part because we are in school always asked to say things ourselves to show that we know.

In a business setting. This is annoying. And it is useless. The more high level people you are talking to, the more busy they are. Being able to shortly and concisely sharing what you think is the real skill.

If you are asked if you have anything to add, it doesn’t mean that you should have or that you should feel forced to.

If there is one career skill that you should master if you are in meetings and you want high-level people in an organization to like you professionally, this is a good one. Practice expressing yourself concisely and to the point. Trust me, all of us will love you for it.