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Enough? Less Is More!

Ten years ago singer Drake recorded a song entitled Too Much. (He's my #1 Spotify choice, by the way). It was about the overwhelming emotional angst of having so much fame. I can identify. Sometimes too much of a good thing can become a bad thing.

Of course, there are lots of obvious "too much" situations. Too much of certain medicines can hurt or kill, too much food for a baby can quickly turn messy and too much sun can cause lifelong damage and some in-the-moment pain. And, well, The View? Enough said.

We've all watched important coverage of major news stories like tornadoes, hurricanes, bombings and other tragedies, only to at some point think, "I've had enough of the news on this, even though it's important," and we immediately turn it off.

But there's also other, more potentially good, influential, but "too much" stuff, that can instead of helping, turn people away. For example, certain commercials are run into the ground as they're shown over and over, even back to back. Enough media people.

We also have too much lecturing. We're lectured during awards ceremonies, talk shows, in stores, on downtown streets, in songs or by supposed well-meaning people who think it's their job to change us, think the way they do or straighten us out. In fact, some people simply talk too much (I've done it) and can get pretty arrogant about their ability to impress the crowd.

During election seasons like we're in now, we get lectured through emails and texts about how we haven't given yet or enough, how things are so bleak because we're not caring and that they expected better of us. Really makes me want to help out. Not.

However, we would be wise to listen to ourselves and determine how much people really want to hear from us about our passion, willingness to help and commitment to faith, freedom or justice. Warning: we usually think our words are more helpful, welcomed and appreciated than they actually are. I've talked before about how every person has a story.

Asking about something like that will help lower our speaking percentage in a conversation and increase the other person's time to talk.

If you're a speaker teacher? Land your plane. Know when to stop because another too much is content. We can think that one more bit of information, Scripture, opinion or whatever will seal the deal when it's often why people left listening long before that.

People know when it's time to quit, even in a simple conversation, and only get irritated when the pilot doesn't know it and does one or several go-arounds before finally shutting up so to speak.

You see, talking too much is a killer in most connections and especially at the start of relationship building whether we're talking about interviews, potential friendships, first discussions, sharing opinions, talking about faith or on a first date.

And remember, silence is okay. It's fine to think through an answer or ponder a new concept before we move on. We don't have to cover all the blank spaces. Sometimes they're the times when the most soul-searching takes place.

Bible wisdom certainly reminds us of this important practice. James 1:19, Know this . . .let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; Proverbs 17:28, Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.

We may have great wisdom or concern or passion to share but too much talk may kill the impact of anything we said.

So what's the alternative? First, start saying less. Practice, Practice, Practice. Try it out in some of your regular conversations or presentations. Keep your sentences short and resist the pull to give more detail to perhaps show how smart you are or just out of habit.

Second, write out some sample alternate lines that you can have available in your back pocket, which will send the conversation back towards them, not you. Use your new lines a few times and see how they work for you or if there's a better way.

Finally, make saying less and listening more a real part of your home. Model interaction over correction or more content over and over.

Keep getting better at it. If you do this well and effectively you might see if you can get on The View.


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