Admittedly, I’m a “Talker”… I have a professional speaking business (I get paid to talk!) and I’m a teacher. When I recently asked my wife if I talk too much or if I’m becoming “that person” (you know that person, AKA: The human rain delay) she said “Yeah, sometimes.” (that’s why I love her, really) So what I’m about to write and try to do is going to be a struggle. I challenge you to please take a chance to reflect right now on how much you talk. In your classroom? In front of kids? With colleagues? Be honest with yourself. Could you potentially be that person also or do you know that person? Now read on…
If you noticed last year, Facebook started making the font of some posts 24 point font, while others were 14 point font. After reading more about it, it was clear that they had reasoning behind this and well, it turns out they were right! If you make a Facebook post that is less than 35 characters, it will be in 24 point font. If it’s 35 characters or more, the post will go back to the standard 14 point font. They did this to see if readers would respond to and engage more in ‘less text’posts. Sure enough, readers do engage more with the “Text Collapse” posts.
It definitely got me thinking… What if for this school year or maybe for the first month of school even, I consciously made the decision to simply talk less. Our words our the way we post to the world, so perhaps by being able to talk less, this will have more of an impact on the audience. I have been processing this now for a while and here is my plan…
When it comes to students in class:
- Give them more opportunities to talk with each other and NOT have to listen to me (seems crazy right? A teacher saying “Don’t listen to the teacher!”)
- When explaining activities or giving directions, try to do it in a may that is shorter, more concise and easy to process. (NO, I don’t always do that anyway)
- When it comes to answering questions… Short and sweet. Then ask “Did I answer your question?” If the answer is “No”, then I have permission to talk more.
- In general, use LESS words in MORE situations. Where can I scale back what I need to say?
When it comes to colleagues:
- “How was your summer?” I’m not going to drone on and on about every single detail. “It was restful and a lot of fun. How was yours?”
- Listen more to what they are saying and talk less about myself.
- Ask good follow-up questions that allow them to share more about themselves instead of dominating the conversation.
- Be aware of other people’s time and realize that we are all busy.
My hope is that this “Talking Collapse” will help me to strengthen relationships with everyone and give me more of chance to be a much better listener, colleague and educator. I challenge you to join me if you think it would benefit you!