Do you know the right time to stop talking? - Michelle Gibbings

In life, timing is often crucial.   Things can happen spontaneously or be planned, and so if something goes well for you is it just luck or is it something else?

I’ve often found in life that the harder I work and the more I plan, the luckier I become.

And so it is with communication.   I once heard someone say: There is no wrong time to do the right thing.

While I agree with the sentiment, it is dangerous to think that you should communicate an idea or a change whenever it suits you.

Why?  Because the art of communicating is not just about you.  It is also about the other person.  So what may be the right time for you, may not be the right time for them.

When you are communicating something that matters – and that can be many times a day – do you consciously think:

  • Is it the right time of day or the right location for this conversation?
  • Is the other person in the right space of mind to talk? Are they available and attentive?
  • Am I in the right space of mind to deliver an effective message? Am I focused and alert?
  • Do I know what I want to say and how I want to deliver it? Am I prepared?
  • Do I have enough time to fully engage in a conversation with the other person?

When you don’t do this, you run the risk of delivering a message which goes unheard or worse, they misconstrue your intent.

In an ideal conversation all involved feel fully heard.  That means they feel that the other person has listened with both their head and heart.  Conversations of this nature can be time consuming.  But the benefits on a relational level are enormous.  It helps you build strong stakeholder relationships, which in turn builds your influence.

Next time you are approaching an important conversation:

  • Plan what you want to say – think about your message
  • Pace how and when you say it – think about the delivery
  • So you can Produce an effective outcome for all involved – think about your desired outcome

Of course, this also means you need to know the right time to stop talking.  As Mark Twain said “The right word may be effective, but no word was effective as a rightly timed pause”.

Change happens.  Make it work for you.


Michelle Gibbings is known for making the complex, simple.  She helps people to think more deliberately, act with greater purpose and accelerate progress by understanding the art and science of human behaviour.