THE HIGH COST OF POINT­LESS CON­VER­SA­TIONS

Elite Agent - - LEADERSHIP -

HAV­ING WORKED WITH LEAD­ERS and teams for 27 years, Tanja M Jones has ob­served how many of them spend too much time talk­ing about ‘stuff', sit­u­a­tions or peo­ple out­side of their con­trol, with not enough time speak­ing for pos­si­bil­ity, ex­cel­lence, in­no­va­tion and change. Here are some good rea­sons why lead­ers should think first be­fore they speak, and how the things that are said can go a long way to­wards cre­at­ing suc­cess.

While the num­ber of words the av­er­age per­son speaks per day can de­pend on age, cul­ture and other fac­tors, a Univer­sity of Ari­zona study found that most peo­ple speak around 16,000 words ev­ery 24 hours.

This study found no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence be­tween male and fe­male sub­jects, de­bunk­ing pre­vi­ous claims that women speak over 10,000 more words in a day than men. This means we are speak­ing nearly six mil­lion words per year, yet how ef­fec­tive are the words we use?

Not enough time is spent speak­ing for pos­si­bil­ity, ex­cel­lence, in­no­va­tion, and change.

HOW MUCH TIME DO YOU SPEND SPEAK­ING?

Have you ever stopped to cal­cu­late ex­actly how much time you spend speak­ing and as­sessed the qual­ity of your words? Stud­ies from McKin­sey Global In­sti­tute, In­ter­na­tional Date Cor­po­rate and the Jour­nal of Com­mu­ni­ca­tion have. Their key find­ings were that lead­ers spend about 80 per cent of their work­days com­mu­ni­cat­ing.

This is a huge part of the day, so how do we get to that per­cent­age? Con­sider that all com­mu­ni­ca­tion is di­vided into many forms. Ac­cord­ing to The Wash­ing­ton Post, CBS Money Watch and The Muse it is as fol­lows: • 28 per cent: the por­tion of each work­day ded­i­cated to read­ing and re­spond­ing to emails • 26 per cent: the por­tion of each work­day the typ­i­cal For­tune 500 CEO spends on the phone. • 50 per cent: the por­tion of a se­nior man­ager’s typ­i­cal work­day ded­i­cated to meet­ings. (The same re­search finds that or­gan­i­sa­tions spend 15 per cent of their col­lec­tive time in meet­ings.)

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