A Crash Course On Public Keeping Your Mouth Shut

There are tons of courses out there on public speaking. But none on keeping your mouth shut. I find this skill extremely valuable, especially during these times of confusion, hyper-sensitivity and global totalitarianism.

So, let’s start with the goal. What is the goal of public keeping your mouth shut?

There are many, not just one.

First: don’t create more confusion than it already is. If you can’t add some clarity to the conversation, just keep your mouth shut. Don’t speak just because you’re afraid, or triggered.

Second: don’t put yourself in a vulnerable position. Like I said, we live in times of hyper-sensitivity, when people believe if they are upset, they are automatically right. By keeping your mouth shut, you avoid complications. You avoid wasting time in endless conversations with persons that have little understanding of logical arguments, but a lot of energy to be used in convincing others about their own point of view.

Third, use that time to listen more, it’s very useful. While you keep your mouth shut, your ears will continue to receive, so you will take in more information. In times of global confusion, this is important. There is a lot of noise out there, and you shouldn’t believe the first thing you hear, just because it validates some of your beliefs. You may be caught in an algorithm which is trying to harvest your attention (or money). Just listen more.

Now that we know the main reasons we should keep our mouth shut, let’s see how we can actually do it. Here are a few actionable tips.

Try breathing in and out 5 times before you speak out. Try introducing this habit of breathing in and out, exactly when you feel the urge to answer (or post on social media). You will soon see that your intention to speak was more often than not a source for one of the problems listed above. You will either add more confusion, or you will put yourself in a vulnerable position. It’s not worth it.

Also, try to repeat in your mind the last sentence of your dialogue partner before speaking out. Like, you know, word by word. Usually that makes you understand better what the other has to really say, what’s the relationship of that with your values and immediate objectives, and how important it is to answer to that. Most of the time, it’s not that important. But we tend to mix their real message with what we think they said and we jump the gun when we should really just stay put.

Another way to keep your moth shut is to partially reveal who you are or what you do. I’m not saying you should lie, on the contrary, always speak the truth, but don’t give the entire record of your life to anyone who seem available to listen. They might not be interested in that. They might not be interested in you at all, only in your temporary reaction. So if you lower your interaction surface, by giving just a decent amount of info, many potentially difficult conversations can be avoided. Live and let live.

And probably the most effective way to keep your mouth shut is to choose smiling over speaking. Try replacing some of your sentences with just a smile. You’ll be surprised how effective this is at preventing other people to try convincing you of anything. Just smile and wave.

After trying these for a couple of weeks, you will suddenly understand that’s a lot of noise in this world.

And a big part of it was created by you.

Photo by Constantin Panagopoulos on Unsplash

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