The 3-Step Process to Stop Over Explaining!

Over Explaining.jpg

Do you find yourself explaining every twist and turn of how you decided on a specific course of action?

Does your boss fidget and tap her pen when you speak up in meetings?

Do you find yourself speaking very quickly because you have so much to say and people need know how you arrived at your conclusions so that you can persuade them to agree with your point of view and demonstrate that you’ve analyzed every angle?.... WHEW!!!! (I need to take a breath…)

If you answered yes to any of the questions above, my guess is that you are a champion over explainer. 

And it’s hurting your career rise.

Ironically, the times we feel the tug to go into extreme detail are the exact times a concise answer or statement would be most valuable. This has proven true for me, and I’m willing to bet that you’ll find it to be true in your life as well.

Why? Because over explaining creates the exact opposite of what we are trying to accomplish! It leaves others in the conversation:

  • Annoyed

  • Thinking about something else

  • Planning their rebuttal or reply

  • Wondering how to stop you from going on and on and on…

  • With an impression that you lack self confidence and strategic thinking

OUCH!!! How frustrating is that?!?!?

Now the good news! You can very quickly change this habit and increase your confidence, level of influence, and promotability in the process. 

Step 1: Know your triggers. 

Notice the next time you feel compelled to provide detailed background or all of the steps in your mind. What are you feeling? Here are a few common causes of over explaining:

  • Lack of Self Confidence

  • Feeling Intimidated

  • Questions from Executive Leaders

  • Passionate Conversations

  • Feeling Vulnerable

Step 2: Formulate 2 -3 sentences that will add value to the conversation.

When you begin ruminating or formulating a long and winding response… stop.  Take a breath. Formulate 2 -3 sentences that would add value to the conversation, and make your statement. I’m not talking about long-winded sentences like the one at the beginning of this blog. Your sentences must be short and concise to be effective.

Step 3: Ask a question.

If you’re concerned that others in the conversation may need more detail, stop and ask them one question. Here are a few to keep in your hip pocket:

  • Would you like more detail around <fill in the blank>?

  • What questions do you have?

  • What else would you like to know?

Remember: No one wants or needs to know everything that’s going on inside your head.

You’re smart and capable. That’s why you hired into your position. 

When you eliminate over explaining, your self-confidence will increase and others will have more confidence in your ideas and suggestions!