For you to stop rambling, you need to understand its effects and the reasons behind it. Rambling bores people out of the conversation. Instead of being interested enough to ask for more information, they avoid prolonging the conversation. It can also make people think that you’re full of yourself, and you drain their energy along the way.
Rambling gives people a bad impression of you. It’s good for you to catch yourself rambling because you’ll be aware of it and can do something about it. By learning how to stop rambling and why you do it, you will feel good about socializing and give a great impression at every gathering you go.
Let’s get you started with the possible reasons:
Reasons Why You’re Rambling
You’re in need of feedback
When presenting something to your coworkers or family and friends, you can’t help but wonder what’s on their minds. Wouldn’t it be great if you can read their thought as you’re talking in real-time? Sadly, it’s not possible. Instead, you end up rambling until you get the feedback that you need, which is not a good way to get it. They will give it to you—not because you asked for it, but because they want you to stop rambling.
Don’t you feel the same when you catch someone rambling too? You want them to stop. So the next time you’re about to present something to them, let them know that you’re looking to get feedback. Make sure that you’re also prepared for what you’re going to tell them to get honest feedback from them. Otherwise, they’ll say about anything (often not helpful) so they can walk away from you.
You’ll know that you’re nervous when you stutter, your hands shake, you fidget, and you let out a fake smile or nervous laughter. These body languages are not only obvious to you, but also to the people you’re talking with. Your nervousness is making you do all of these while also rambling. It’s alright. People get nervous too, so they understand where you’re coming from. Remember, if they’ve learned to overcome it, so can you.
Think about why you’re nervous. Is it because you’re somewhere new? Or you’re meeting people from another culture or just new people in general? Or do you just get easily nervous? It’s important that you ask yourself these questions to know if you’re only nervous or actually have social anxiety.
You want to be acknowledged
Maybe you’re an authority in an organization, or someone who wants to prove themselves, that you savor the spotlight to no end. But even authorities can tire people out, and end up getting disrespected. And there are alternative ways to prove yourself without rambling and getting disrespected too. Maybe you also end up rambling because you believe your way is the only right way, and you have this urge to control people; hence you’re teaching instead of influencing.
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting our skills and efforts acknowledged. But shoving it in other people’s faces will only backfire. It’s far from what you want. Understanding why you feel the need to control people and looking for other alternatives to get acknowledge can help you to stop rambling and become an effective communicator.
There are times when a conversation topic comes up, and it so happens that it’s something you’re interested in and well-versed with. Sometimes you can’t help but share a detailed experience when people ask you for it. And as you go along, there’s a high chance that you’ll end up rambling because you’re getting overexcited about it, which means that there are hundreds of thoughts rushing into your mind. People will understand that you got carried away because you’re passionate about it, but that doesn’t mean they’ll tolerate your ramblings for long.
When sharing something, you don’t have to give full details unless you’re in an emergency, or you’re coaching others for business purposes. There are details that you have to omit, so you can get to the point and answer what they’ve been asking of you. Rambling causes you to stay in the spotlight for long, no longer making the conversation two-way. You have to give others the chance to share too.
You’re socially awkward
When you’re socially awkward, you’re usually thinking about other people’s approval. You want them to like you. You do things to please them instead of being authentic. Maybe you’re among the socially awkward people who think that the more you talk about the things that please them, the more they’ll like you. That’s not true. Sure, people will become interested in you if you show interest in what they like. But if you’re rambling, they won’t get the chance to talk. It will also show that you’re only pretending to know a lot about it if you’re indeed faking it. The more you talk, the more mistakes you make.
There are many ways to show you share their interests that don’t have to involve talking a lot. There’s listening, asking open-ended questions, and giving out positive body language. Remember that you’re having a conversation with someone, let them talk and listen until they’re done. Don’t take up all the time in the world to get to the point.
How To Stop Rambling
It feels bad to know that you’re rambling, and you feel the need to stop it once and for all. You’ve noticed that people avoid you when you’re about to make a conversation with them. With these tips, you won’t have to feel bad any longer:
The Traffic Light Rule
It’s created by Marty Nemko, a top career coach, for long-winded people who may be oblivious about dominating conversations most of the time. The Traffic Light Rule states that during your first 30 seconds of talking, the light is green. People are paying attention to you. But during your second 30 seconds, it’s turning yellow. People are starting to lose attention, and it will be riskier for you to keep on talking. After 60 seconds or a minute of talking, it’s recommended that you stop. Instead of making a meaningful conversation, your rambling will discourage people from knowing more and will prefer to just walk away.
Use the PRES Conversation Model
It’s a conversation framework that you can use while speaking. It helps you organize your thoughts and make your conversations with other people a lot smoother.
- Point – Think about the point of the topic you want to discuss. Starting with this will make the conversation more intriguing, which makes the people give their full attention to you.
- Reason – Explain the reasoning behind your point. Make it short and concise. Omit the unnecessary details that you think is important but actually bores other people, unless you’re in a business or emergency meeting.
- Example – Come up with one or two examples to help people visualize your point. This is where you make the people understand why the point you’re making is important.
- Summary – Wrap it up by repeating and emphasizing your point and the reason behind it.
“I think we should start making plans for this year’s retreat. Everybody will have the chance to choose and suggest a destination. They will also have the time to tell their family about it and prepare what they need to prepare. Say if we plan on Wednesday, they will have approximately 12 weeks, which is long enough to find a babysitter, and set a budget for the trip. So planning the retreat as soon as possible will give everybody ample time to choose where to go and be prepared for everything else.”
Use the COIN Conversation Model
It’s another conversation framework you can use. A great model for you to use when giving feedback at work or anywhere else. It’s constructive and encourages your coworkers, family, and friends to do better.
- Context – Remember that no one can read your mind. You have to give the 5 Ws (Who, What, When, Where, Why) and 1 H (How) for them to fully visualize the situation you’re telling them and to avoid confusion.
- Observation – Get to the point when giving this out. Avoid blaming; instead, point to the behavior of their behavior and not them as a person.
- Impact – Make them realize the effects or consequences of their actions.
- Next Steps – Give them alternative ways to do something. It gives them a chance to reflect on their behavior and change it for the better.
“Yesterday, mother and I were setting up the Christmas tree in the living room because it’ll be Christmas soon, and she’s super excited about it. I noticed that you were occupied with your phone most of the time when mother asked for your assistance twice already. It made her feel sad and less excited about the Christmas gathering. I think she’d really appreciate it if you lend a hand on other things to make up to her, so everyone will be truly happy this Christmas.”
Keep on Practicing
Building your social skills and perfecting conversation techniques takes time and practice. Practicing helps you remember the conversation models by heart. It helps you build self-confidence, which is important in socializing with other people from all backgrounds. Take an hour talking in front of the mirror and listening to yourself speak. The more you do this, the easier it is for you to stop rambling.
You can also start with your family or friends that you’re comfortable with, especially the ones who are good at giving feedback. You can also lookup online for people who are making a conversation in various situations to inspire you to do better. There’s a reason why most people are confident in writing down their thoughts rather than speaking it because they’re not used to talking in front of people. Remember: the more you choose to speak it, the less nervous you will be.
Learn to Pause
You don’t have to spit all your ideas when socializing. If you do, then you risk rambling in front of others. That’s not what you want, right? Maybe you can’t help but do that because your nervousness gets the better of you. It’s okay. It happens to everyone. What you can do is taking the time to pause. It shows them that you’re thoughtful and careful with your words, which is a good thing.
When someone asks you a question, you can say: “Give me a second to think about it.” They’ll be glad to wait for you. Not only are you showing that you’re hearing them out, but it’s also your chance to gather your thoughts, remember the conversation models, and apply it. Learning to pause is important for you to stop rambling and start talking in a clear and concise manner.
Go Low and Slow
Have you raised your voice and talked fast when trying to emphasize a point? Or maybe you’ve heard people do it. When plenty of thoughts come rushing into your mind, you get the urge to let it all out. This is exactly what causes people to ramble, which makes it difficult for others to listen to them.
When emphasizing something, lower your voice and slow down. People will listen because they understand that you’re going to say something important for them to know. Although it takes practice, going low and slow will help you communicate better and effectively.
“If you want to go camping in the mountains alone, don’t forget to bring…an…extra…flashlight and…be…careful…of the bears.”
Now that you’re equipped with enough knowledge to stop rambling, it’s better that you start practicing making good conversations with other people. With constant practice, you’ll eventually find socializing less intimidating and more enjoyable. You’ll inspire people who also end up rambling.
Learning to become an effective communicator isn’t only about organizing your thoughts, it’s also about giving out positive body language and working on yourself first. There are articles made available for you to learn important skills and techniques on making friends and dealing with shyness, all of which will be helpful for your mental health and social life.