Were you born a ramblin’ man,
Tryin’ to get through your presentations the best you can?
Well, when this article’s over,
I hope you’ll understand,
Why you don’t want to be a ramblin’ man (or woman).
Yes, rambling can lead your audience into deep holes of details and bring your career to a dead end. By understanding how rambling affects your communication, you can get to the point and start speaking with power and purpose.
1. You become disoriented
One of the biggest problems with rambling is that you will often lose track of the point you were trying to make. You focus on one thought, then the next thought that pops into your head, then the next, etc. — where are you? What was your point? If you don’t know, imagine your audience’s confusion. Your audience will start to check out, and you run the risk of derailing your entire presentation.
2. Your speaking becomes flat
Another problem with rambling is that it often causes your speaking to flatten out. You focus on trying to think of what to say next rather than how you are saying it. There’s no time to think about using rhythm or contrast when you’re just stringing words together without a plan. The result is monotony of tone, monotony of emphasis, and monotony of emotion — flat, unengaging communication.
3. Your voice quality deteriorates
When you ramble, your sentences become longer and more convoluted. You tend to spout out your words at increasingly rapid speeds. As a result, you strain to squeeze more out of each breath. Your tone becomes tight, and your sounds become clipped. You lose resonance, cutting out the warm tones that keep audiences engaged and losing the power of a full, rich sound.
4. You start to feel alienated from your audience
Finally, rambling is harmful because it builds a barrier between you and your audience. When you ramble, you are often saying the same thing in a few different ways, hoping to get a good response from the audience. But the more you go on, the less interested your audience is going to be — a vicious cycle. Don’t keep digging yourself a deeper and deeper hole with your audience. Move on to your next point, and be more concise.
The next time you find yourself starting to ramble, remember — “Ramblin’ Man” was a hit song, but becoming a rambling man or woman can drop you to the bottom of the charts in terms of career success.