How can I avoid providing too much detail when answering questions?

A netizen recently asked, “I over-explain everything. What’s a good way to stop?”.

The Original Poster (OP) adds, “I recently heard someone say whoever over-explains tends to mean they’re lying. I over-explain, not because I’m lying. I get nervous and I’ll talk, or I get passionate about something. What are your thoughts?”.

Below are the top responses.

Keep Taking Intentional Pauses

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“Say a little something then take an intentional 8-second pause. Whoever you’re talking to May take that time to respond or they’ll wait for more info. If they want to interject, let them.

You’re actively trying to restrain yourself so no harm done whatsoever as far as ‘interrupting’ since you are leaving space for two-way discourse.”

Try To Limit Conversations

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“They are flat-out wrong. People who over-explain things typically are either excited or nervous. Lying (nervous perhaps?) is not the motivation.

Also, people who have ADHD or who are on the Spectrum tend to do it too.

A good way to stop is to make a little bet with yourself at the start of a night or a social interaction and try to limit conversations to as few words as possible without being awkward. The more you do it the better you get.”

Look Deeper Into The Cause

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“Over-explaining is my trauma response to being ignored, dismissed and never heard as a child. Healing those wounds I stopped over-explaining. So maybe look deeper into the source?”

Listen More – Talk Less

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“Listen more – talk less. If someone needs ‘more details’, keep it brief.”

You Do You!

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“Some people are just detail-oriented or don’t like to repeat themselves multiple times. You be you and don’t be sorry for it.”

Practice The Art Of Keeping It Brief

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“Practice the art of keeping it brief.”, said one.

“One of my teachers had a maxim: Be lean of speech.

I have to think through what I’m going to say before I say it. It’s tough when you’re used to talking through your thinking, but explanations aren’t the place for it.”, another added.

Learn To Exit A Situation Politely

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“I’ve been trying to stop since I was young. I’m almost 50, and I’m still really awkward around actual people and consistently make myself sound stupid on social media.

I don’t have what one would describe as a filter. No medication or therapy has helped either, but everyone is different. Now that I’m done over-explaining my cons, the pros I’ve found are I’m not alone, so that helps, and I’ve learned to exit a situation in mere moments. A polite exit if you will, which works best for me.”

Imagine Being In The Other Person’s Shoes

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“I did this. Still do sometimes. I stopped by imagining being in the other person’s shoes and only giving a simple answer or response for time’s sake.”

Pretend You’re Trying To Talk To A Child

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“Just pretend you’re trying to talk to a child. Keep it short, sweet, and simple. Too long and the kid loses attention. Too complicated and they’ll gain nothing but more questions.”

Ask Your Friends To Just Stop You

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“Got a friend who does that too, he loves to talk and explain stuff even when he knows he already explained something to me, and he does it again, forever!

I’m a very direct person and he said it helped him a lot whenever I just interrupted him to stop him.

Maybe ask your friends to just stop you when they feel you do it again?”

Start Under-Explaining Everything

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“Start under-explaining everything, eventually you’ll even out. I know that sounds like a joke but I’m completely serious.”

Get A Job As A Teacher

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“Don’t stop. Get a job as a teacher or professor and turn your weakness into greatness.”

Read The Book ‘Smart Brevity’

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“I recommend the book ‘Smart Brevity.’ It’s a quick read (shocker) about how to write engaging stories that cut to the point, but I also found it helpful for my habit of over-talking.”

Practice Being More Concise

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“Think what you want to say, and practice being more concise. It’s probably easier to start with written correspondence.”

Breathe & Focus

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“Breathe, focus on the points you are trying to make. Forget the backdrop or whatever audience, stay friendly, and don’t ever try to dig into topics you won’t be able to navigate back from. If you give your best, honest and most concise answer, it usually shows well.

Easier said than done I know! Just try to stay relaxed, and always stay refreshed on what it is that’s causing you guys to be sharing your thoughts. Good luck!”

Research Active Listening Techniques

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“Research active listening techniques. Repeating back what people said to ensure there’s no misunderstanding can help you be more succinct.”

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