Culture

My Lips Are Sealed

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by
April 20th, 2012

Lately I’ve been suffering from a lack of content. With all the posting, liking, tweeting, and updating required in my professional and personal life, I’m beginning to feel my go-to comment is “no comment.” I can almost hear David Byrne singing, “When I have nothing to say, my lips are sealed.”

So why is it that my woman-of-few words self has such a hard time boxing myself into a 140 character tweet or polished “elevator pitch?” I either have nothing to say or I deliver a twisted tale, rife with disclaimers and caveats. Not exactly the status update my “friends” were hoping for!

I yearn for my young adulthood pre-technology era of daylong conversations refreshingly free from pithy irreverence or the need to package my ramblings for a larger audience. Weaving together an engaging summary – be it what I did last weekend or what I do for a living – feels to me like navigating a cocktail party, something else I’m legendarily bad at. Between the obligatory introductions (“Where are you from?”) and the “I’m off to powder my nose” exit strategy, I’ve burned through my time allotment. Meanwhile, my chit-chat partner is eying the buffet table and conjuring up an exit strategy of his own.

Clearly my style could use a little punching up, so I try to remember these tips on packaging my words for a not-so-captive audience:

  1. Go easy on the analysis. You’ll never effectively explain your theory in two minutes anyway, so let your audience draw their own conclusions.
  2. Don’t bite off more than you can chew… or expect others to digest within the time limit or word count. Keep it simple and focused.
  3. Don’t apologize; it just takes up extra space.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get a drink.

Next time you’re at an event, take note of your own conversational style. Are you rambling and apologetic or laser-focused and direct? Are you the one heading for a refill at the bar or the one wondering why the conversation was cut short?

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