The Last Word & Filling In Dead Air Space

Have you ever known anyone that has to always have the last word? No matter what the conversation, even in texting, they always have to be the last to comment. I will admit – I am one of those people. So is my son – this makes for interesting texting and conversations at times.

I do not do this on purpose or even realize that I am always doing it, but there it is, I always feel compelled to say something back. Almost as though I do not want the other person to think I am rude in not responding. However, I also understand that this can be annoying to the other party as well.

Given that I have this tendency, I also realized a long time ago another tendency that I had – wanting to fill in dead air with talking. If you have been on an interview you know what I am talking about: the interviewer asks you a question, of which you answer in a brilliant manner and then there is dead space. They just stare at you. You begin to think, “Maybe I said something wrong,” “maybe I didn’t answer the question right,” “Maybe there is more I can say,” and the verbal diarrhea begins.

Here’s my tip of the day: Answer the question then shut up. Not to be rude, I am just blunt person and I find that sometimes being blunt gets the point across a little better. So, again, answer the question then shut your mouth.

The silence does not necessarily mean you did anything wrong, it could mean that they are actually thinking about your answer. There’s an idea. Let them ponder it. If they have any follow-up questions they will ask you. But if you start rambling on you are going to tarnish that brilliant answer and give them too much information to comprehend.

It is hard, I know, trust me I know. But it can be done. If you are unsure if you answered their question ask them. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it? All you have to do is say something to the effect of, “Did I answer your question adequately?” or “I understood you to ask this, am I correct in that and did I answer your question satisfactorily?”

Easy enough. I have been able to conquer that challenge and now I am working not having to have the last word.


I am.

No kidding.

I promise.

I’m trying.


Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Career Polish, Inc.

Leave a Reply