Finding: “Um”, “Kinda” and “Like” are a few common ones but there are many others. I was shocked by how many times I said “Um” in a 30-minute conversation when I listened in hindsight.
Solution: Take your time. As the Navy SEALS would say, “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast.” The best communicators that I know talk slowly and often take time in between sentences in order to maximize their word effectiveness and avoid those pesky crutch words
We Love To Talk
Finding: Not a surprise here — but many people love to talk. Being in sales, I am certainly a culprit of this. We think this helps to help control the flow of the conversation when the reality is that the most productive conversations are when you are listening twice as much as you speak.
Solution: One colleague mentioned he literally uses a timer when on a customer call. He’ll take a glance when he begins explaining something and at the ~ 20-second mark he will force himself shut up and listen.
It’s A Great Way To Reflect
Finding: When people were evaluating their peers, they were often very complimentary. However, most of the self-analysis was very critical. Everyone seemed to have a few moments where they thought “When I said X, I should have said Y instead.”
Solution: Sometimes the only way to know where you’re falling short is to really audit yourself. Similar to a Quarterback every Monday morning, taking the time to study past performance can help future outcomes.
Though it was uncomfortable at first, I would certainly recommend this as an exercise to get yourself out of a plateau or “get over the hump”. Once you get over the sound of your own voice, there can be a lot of value derived from auditing these conversations.
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