Prov 10:19 (Voice version), The more you talk, the more likely you will cross the line and say the wrong thing; but if you are wise, you’ll speak less and with restraint.

Think you might be talking too much? Here are some warning signs for you to consider. They are posed as questions to allow for greater introspection:

  1. Do you talk fast to ensure you don’t get interrupted?
  2. Do you frequently interrupt others?
  3. When listening to others, are you focused on formulating your response or rebuttal?
  4. Do you try to impress others with your speech?
  5. Is your speech driven by your concern about what others think of you?
  6. Do you rush to defend yourself whenever you feel misunderstood?
  7. Do you babble when trying to comfort someone who is hurting?
  8. Do you value your opinions more highly than the opinions of others?
  9. Do you try to speak on matters in which you have no knowledge or expertise?
  10. Do you frequently find yourself regretting things you said over the course of your day?

Talk less, learn more

Can we learn to be more thoughtful in our speech? Can we learn to reverence silence? Challenge yourself to resist every urge to speak, especially when you’re upset or angry. Learn the art of silence. You may discover some amazing things about yourself – and others.

The person who’s doing the talking will feel understood and cared about.

Most people go through life wishing to be listened to more. So by listening rather than talking, you are giving something valuable to the person who’s speaking. Especially if you really are taking in what that person is saying and not thinking about something else. The speaker will appreciate that gift and you will have created a bond. He or she will feel understood and validated.

When you do speak, people will listen.

Who do you listen to more closely–someone who never shuts up, or someone who only speaks once in a while? As with anything else, the law of supply and demand holds true: If you constantly share your opinions, no one will seek them out. If you only say what you’re thinking on occasion, or only make a point one time instead of over and over, your words are likely to have more weight.

To be clear, I’m not suggesting that you always keep your opinions to yourself. The people around you need to know what you’re thinking, doubly so if you’re in a leadership role. But if you spend more time listening than you do speaking, so that the people you’re speaking to feel understood and bonded with you, when you do speak your mind, they’ll be listening much more closely. 

Intelligent people tend to speak less. But can speaking less make you more intelligent?

The less you speak the more you hear. The information and knowledge you have access to will increase substantially once you learn to silence your mind and your mouth. Naturally, your output will decrease and your input will increase. Ultimately, this will elevate what you know and help you come to terms with how much you don’t know. Realising how much you don’t know and the humility that comes with this is a true sign of intelligence.

When you begin to recognise how much you actually don’t know, you are much more likely to listen and observe, as opposed to speaking what you think you know.

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