Don’t Be A Rambler: The First Step is Prevention – April 10, 2018

Don’t Be A Rambler: The First Step is Prevention

by Gen Merritt-Parikh
President, Allied Affiliated Funding

Have you ever realized that you’ve been talking forever and haven’t gotten to the point?! I was interested in this topic recently — for a number of reasons — so I read through a few articles online and then shared with our team. We thought, “Why not share with you, too?”

Side note, I’ve noticed when I’m not prepared, when I want someone to know the pain I went through or how awesome something is or not awesome something is, then I go through everything… Every. Single. Excruciating. Painful. Detail. of what I said, what they said, how they reacted or responded, how much time it took, and more… it’s like I wanted you to be there. Well, I did!

Unfortunately, we cannot all be in every conversation together. Instead, we have to share what happened without putting everyone else through the crazy. Sorry guys, since yes, I do this and so do you… it’s like when you try something that doesn’t taste good and then then say, “Here, try this!

How do you know if you’re guilty?

  • Have you been talking for 5 or, even worse, 10 minutes and not yet made your point? That means… you’re rambling.
  • When someone asks you a question, you focus on telling the story — not answering the question. Yep, you’re rambling.
  • Did you go through all the details to tell the story and totally miss the headline… You are rambling. Yes, you are. For sure.
  • Did you start a point and then… squirrel!… dang it… Rambling.
  • You notice people are looking around or bored, fidgeting, starting side conversations, or trying to cut you off… you know it. You’re a rambler.

Here’s a few summarized takeaways to help stop being a Rambler… it’s okay. It happens. Awareness is the first step to prevention


icon thats an orange circle with the word 'New' in it

Plan ahead.

What points do you want to make? If it helps, write those bullet points down when you prepare.



icon of orange circle with an exclamation point

Start with the Point.

Lead with the headline before you start telling the story. No need for the introduction, build up and details with all the sources noted to get to the point several minutes later. Lead with the Headline. Back to starting with the point, I found this formula online:

  • Point (start with that)
  • Reason (why it matters)
  • Example (show why it matters)
  • Summary (your recommendation/decision/etc)


icon of a stop watch

Limit yourself to one minute and practice.

If people want to know more, they will ask. Then, they are engaged and you won’t be the dreaded Rambler. You can even role play this with a friend to practice.


icon of a pause button

Listen more.

If you focus on listening, you will find you talk less.


icon of a pause button

Slow Your Roll.

Did you ever take a speaking class where they discussed being nervous, so you talk faster, your voice gets higher, and then higher… Stop It. Lower your voice. You’ll talk slower. People will listen more too. Side benefit: you will sound more authoritative this way as well. As I wrote this, I felt guilty by the way. Maybe I’ll go back to being in denial. Sigh.