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  • Writer's pictureRonald van Aggelen

Two mouths and one ear: 4 tips to get talkative people to listen

It will look strange, two mouths and one ear. Yet this is something we encounter every day: talkative people who listen poorly. We encounter them at birthdays and parties, but also in the workplace. This is especially difficult for people with two ears and only one mouth. How do you deal with this and how can you influence the amount of talking?


Recently my wife and I sat across from a mother and daughter on the train to Paris. In a socially friendly way we asked where they came from. The mother immediately took the floor and talked our ears off. For two hours neither the daughter nor we were able to say anything. Do you find yourself in a similar situations at times? Maybe not in this intensity. It can be more subtle, but the main focus of the person taking the floor is on being verbal.



In the DISC model, based on Carl Jung's theory, in which people can be identified by their preferred behavior, someone with a high energy on communication is given the color yellow as their identity. Also called a high i (the letter “I” in DISC stands for influence). The communication dynamics of people with high i are always about “involve me”.

As soon as you involve high i's you fulfill their wish and the following happens: the influence starts and the communication is taken over. As if they have two mouths. Not in the sense that two different opinions are expressed, but mainly in terms of intensity and volume. Focused on sending.



There are four reasons for a high i to start transmitting:

1. A question about information

2. A challenge

3. Uncertainty

4. Silence

It is very nice to have high i's around, because they have an abundance of ideas, are creative, create fun and they bring humor to the table. However, sometimes it is necessary to put on the brakes and call the transmission tower to order, otherwise others will not have their say.



Tip 1: Set a limit for a question

If you know that you are dealing with a high i, you can limit the answer in advance by setting a limit in your question, such as: Give me two points, four alternatives or one perspective. You can then fall back on that: “Thank you, those are the two points I asked for.”


Tip 2: Ask for a short summary

When faced with a challenge, someone with yellow energy immediately switches to persuasion mode, because he or she has 100 ideas about how to do it. The result is even more power, even more arguments and an extra focus on volume. The best intervention here is to ask to summarize briefly (for example, ask for the best option of all the ideas already mentioned). Then someone is forced to get out of broadcast mode and think before the bullshit becomes unstoppable. And it gives you the opportunity to respond or to anticipate a discussion.


Tip 3: Press the emotion button

When there is uncertainty, the high i continues to talk. Especially so as not to end up in a situation of vulnerability. The best intervention here is the emotion button: Respond at some point with an emotional statement, for example about your own vulnerability: “I hear what you are saying, but I have the feeling that you are ignoring all my emotions.” A slightly disruptive action that uses emotion to bring the focus back to the core of the conversation.


Tip 4: Make sure that silence can and may occur

The described yellow communication style is often accompanied by the fear of silence. The high i feels extremely uncomfortable with silences in a conversation. A simple request from you whether you can think for a moment, and whether you can take some time to do so, usually has an immediate effect.


Actually, all these tips come down to activating the ear. So in situations where you are overwhelmed by one or more talkers, try to activate your ears. Because if you listen you can't talk (and vice versa). If you would like to know more about this, keep following us. In the coming months we will discuss preferred behavior and how you can influence this on a regular basis.

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