Three talking styles.

Three speakers, all intelligent people. different styles.

The scattergun.

Let’s call him X. X is intelligent, successful and articulate. Boy, is X articulate. He has a lot to say and he’s not sure life is long enough to say it all, so he says it all at once. X never finishes a sentence. Halfway though, X will have a thought, drop the thread, probably for good, and start in on the new topic. Listening to X is like putting your ear to a verbal fire hose.  You want to run away.   Oddly enough, a lot of women speak this way, particularly in groups and to one another.  They will even interrupt one another mid sentence -yet no-one seems to care – except any male listening.

The elephant

Y is also intelligent. He thinks deeply about what he wants to tell you. The problem is, Y  likes to compose his sentences in full, which is great, but unfortunately he feels the need to rehearse them internally a couple of times before he opens his mouth. As a result, you can ask Y a question, wait, conclude he’s not heard you after a long second delay, and find yourself asking again. At which Y looks mightily offended. Because, of course, Y has a perfectly good answer for you, which he would have begun ponderously outlining if only you’d allowed him a courteous 30 seconds of rehearsal time.   I used to work with a guy like this (as a subordinate, so I couldn’t escape)  twenty years ago.  Really frustrating.

The razor

Somewhere there’s a middle ground.   The best speaker I know, Z,  is successful and well regarded. Why?  Z is very astute.  He thinks fast but never actually says anything at all unless he believes it contributes to the conversation.  When he does, it’s succinct and it gets to the point.   In particular, he is always careful to put things into context for you, and he does speak in complete sentences rather than run-ons and fragments.   When Z opens his mouth, you listen.  I’m talking about you, Craig!

No prizes for guessing which type of speaker I aspire to be.  Sadly, I’m not as quick or as smart as Z, so the result merely appears pompous.

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1 Response to “Three talking styles.”


  1. 1 thebenjamin December 30, 2008 at 4:13 pm

    I found your blog while tag jumping (I think I followed “random musings”). I believe I’m a hybrid of y and z, a sharp elephant if you will.


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