When the meeting is over, stop talking.

My first gig after college was working at Numark in Rhode Island, as a product manager in the DJ equipment industry. One day I walked into someone’s office and asked “Hey, do you have a min?” and got back “No, I’m really busy right now.” So of course I was like “OK, I’ll make this quick…” Man did I get the 3rd degree that day and it’s stayed with me. I got a real snappy “What part of no, I’m busy which means come back later don’t you understand”

I’ve always been a talkative “pitchy” guy. Once while raising money with an angel investor I heard “jake, jake, jake…. Does anyone ever tell you that you talk to much and don’t let anyone even get word in?… I felt like crying…

One of the things I’ve been working on over the last year is ending a conversation and moving on, and not adding “just one more thing”. Too many meetings lose their meaning and purpose when something unrelated or detail oriented gets tagged into the meeting at the very end, hijacking the point, and the memory of the people you meet with.

What I’ve done to work on keeping things concise is 1) ending a statement, and then silently counting to 3 before talking again and 2) discussing and writing down what I want to accomplish in a meeting, when those are accomplished, the meeting is over.

This also applies to the “walk out” of a meeting. Icebreakers are great on the way in. However on the way out I don’t discuss business “just one more things…” or even other time fillers anymore. I usually stick to thank you for coming in, talk to you soon, bye.