Please! Just Give Me The Frickin’ Cliff Notes!

Do you know if you need to cliff-note your lengthy talking?   “You know how to cliff note, don’t cha? Just put your lips together and glue.”

As a reformed over-talker (almost), here are the warning signs that you need to cliff-note so that the person you are talking “at” doesn’t want to jump off a cliff.

  • I know I talk a lot” you laughingly admit, while you’re talking, then you just keep on talking.
  • “Look, he is so fascinated with what I’m saying”. NOT, he is looking at the mole on your cheek that is the shape of a tiny football, and then about the touchdown from the 40th yard line, and how good that hot dog was when he downed it with an ice cold BUD.
  • Wow, she is such good listener!” Wrong, you lost her at “Hello, let me tell you about when I was sick for 2 weeks, well 6 weeks ago it started with a tiny little scratchy pimple…..”
  • I have to explain every detail so they can keep up.” Oh No Don’t. You are not the owner of ALL information. They always, always, know more than you give them credit for, they can handle the short cuts.
  • I can’t stand silence.”   Or perhaps you’ve never experienced this.
  • Finally, you realize you haven’t heard a word they said! Because they could barely get a word in edgewise. Was it a conversation or your monologue?

Over-talking makes it only about you, and then you don’t get the benefit of learning something new. A good conversation is an exchange of actions, not long one-sided histories that you weren’t there for. Both brains and hearts get to exercise. You were heard and contributed to a common subject. Lots of ideas and emotions may show up: laughter, compassion, inspiration, anger about an injustice, something you are amazed to find out, or even shared updates on your lives. Lots of times it leads to positive thoughts, help and actions. Not if it’s one sided. It’s boring.

Here’s how to cliff-note/abbreviate, be a better conversationalist, and/or just keep people from hiding from you. People are interested in your current action and how it relates to them, and visa-versa, so…

  • First, think of this picture before you open you mouth. Don’t leave your friend in this condition. ID-10098640
  • Go to the summarized learning and your current action (from above) “I learned not to pop that hard pimple and used “Zit Be Gone”.
  • Now turn the learning to them. “Have you ever used this?’
  • Let them ask for more details. This lets you know what they want to learn. On a more serious note, a loved one had cancer reoccur, and I wanted to know every detail of what was being done. But even then, a two-way check-in allowing better understanding and shared knowledge was more binding.

So fellow comrades, here is a 3 step program, better than the 12-step. People stay tuned to action not the past. The practice: Replay your latest conversation when you noticed that glazed look in her/his eyes. Write down what you could have cliff-noted by: a) summarized learning, b) current action, and c) the ‘ask them.’ Can you do it in 1 or 2 sentences? You are on your way to keeping relationships and higher learning.  Remember doing something 5% of the time starts a change.