Beginning your career can be scary. I remember the first time I attended a career fair in college, I was so nervous about talking to the employers and giving them my elevator pitch. Things that went through my mind were “what do I even say?”, and “what if they aren’t impressed?”. Luckily, they were all very friendly and I survived my first big career event as a college student. Sometimes though, in situations like a career fair, interview, or networking, we can let our nerves get the best of us and end up dominating much of the conversation. I don’t know about you, but when I am super nervous, I tend to talk way too much. Talking too much can have a negative impact in many of these situations. There is nothing worse than being stuck talking to someone at a networking event, where you should be mingling, for more than 30 minutes. Here are a few tips so you don’t end up talking too much and risk having a negative experience.
Get to the Point
According to our recent Intern and New Graduate Hires survey, verbal communication was ranked #2 on the list of preferred skills by employers. Unless it is completely necessary to be long winded, try to get to the point of what you are saying. If you ramble on and on, you might lose interest of the entire audience and they might forget what you were saying to begin with. The ability to share information clearly is an asset to any employer.
Something I struggle with sometimes is instead of listening intently to what someone is saying, I am thinking way to hard about what I am going to say next and then end up rambling or getting off topic. I encourage you to slow down and fully engage in the conversation you are having with someone. Listen to what they are saying! You don’t need to respond at the exact second they stop talking. More meaningful conversation will be had if you focus on listening and then organize your thoughts for a response.
Be self-aware if you tend to babble on too much. Its easy to start rambling when you are nervous. A few things to watch yourself for include: interrupting ongoing conversations, repeating yourself or talking over someone. These things can be detrimental to the way others view your communication skills. Notice others body language when you are talking, you can usually tell if you need to wrap it up or if they are intently focused on the conversation.
Here’s a crash course in making great small talk.