Don’t Hold Your Audience Hostage With Your Waffle Gun: LISTEN!
Waffle (British): To speak or write at length in a vague or trivial manner
Waffle (US): To fail to make up one’s mind
So many people in business waffle on – in both the British and the American sense (as above). It’s a defence. And once you’ve discovered waffle as a way to deflect, stall or claim space, it’s a hard habit to break.
I should know: in the British sense of the word, I’ve been guilty of it. Back in the day, when I worked 90-hour weeks and ran on strong coffee and stronger hangovers, I was a world-class waffler. In most meetings, whether new-client or quarterly updates, I’d lean into the part of my character that has the gift of the gab. It becomes addictive – and it kills a room.
Six reasons why you waffle:
- You’re factually underprepared and nervous.
- You’re stalling because you’re worried you’ll forget something important.
- You are a bit too fond of the sound of your own voice (you probably have some power).
- You haven’t sufficiently nailed down in advance the point you want to get across.
- You’re trying not to lose face or undersell to a fading audience.
- You’re unaware of the vibe.
As time goes on, I tend to say less and less. People can absorb only so much, after all. It’s more important these days that I focus on the facts and positive energy of those in front of me.
Most people starting a business can smell a chancer a mile off, and that’s the precarious place from where most waffle is generated. I’m proud to say I’ve almost hung up my waffle gun for good. It wasn’t serving me.
Two ways to stop waffling: