I’m an interesting conversationalist and I
assume everyone else believes that as well.
It’s only when someone walks away mid-sen-tence that I realize I may have shared one
too many witty anecdotes.
But I suspect some of us are not quite
as aware as we could be. Once, before I
was president of NSA, a colleague said to
me, “I’d like to volunteer in any area where
you need help.” When I asked what she
was good at, she said, “Doing main-stage
I wondered if she was aware that I
was aware that she was pitching me for a
keynote at the convention instead of truly
wanting to volunteer.
Another time, I listened to a wonderful
presentation on treating others with compassion and
then later watched as this same speaker berated an airline ticket agent because of a weather delay.
I wondered if he was aware that I was aware of his
For the past couple of years, I’ve been immersed in
the study of mindfulness. As you can surmise by this
article, the ultimate goal in mindfulness is to be aware—
of everything. When we’re truly aware, we notice when
our thoughts and behaviors are not congruent with what
we want them to be. Then, we can act on that awareness.
I struggle with this every day. But the more I practice
being aware—such as knowing that I’m talking too much
and need to give someone else a turn—the more likely
I am to invite others into the conversation. And coincidentally, that’s when the best talking occurs. ■
I talk too much. There, I said it. And you know what? I’m pretty sure you do too.
There, I said it.
Whenever a non-speaker asks me what it’s like to attend an
NSA convention, I always explain that 1,500 extroverts in one
hotel is exhausting. Simply asking someone what they had for
breakfast could lead to a 20-minute keynote on the failure of
restaurant staff to meet certain customer-service criteria.
I’m not sure if the problem of talking too much is one of awareness or action, but it permeates our association. You see, I know
I talk too much. I just don’t always choose to control it. I believe
RON CULBERSON, MSW,
CSP, CPAE, turned a social
disability of talking too much into
a lucrative career as a professional
speaker. He was also the 2012-2013
BY RON CULBERSON, MSW, CSP, CPAE
Awareness leads to action