Are you ever frustrated in a meeting or a conference call? There are lots of people and lots of noise. It feels like you can’t even hear yourself think, let alone be heard by anyone else. So what do we do? Try harder, speak louder and speak more!

How about when it’s your turn, when you have the stage? You have a vision in mind of the point you’d like to make – except that that your vision of the message is unencumbered by the agendas of everyone else. Tensions rise. What do we tend to do? If you’re anything like me, you still try harder, speak louder, speak more. How’s that working?

Do less, not more. Sounds pretty “Zen,” doesn’t it? But guess what? It works. First of all, in a group setting, doing less simplifies and removes noise rather than adding to it. It allows us to listen for space, for quiet in which to speak, even if only for a word or two. And when we’re front and center, our voice is permitted to carry fewer but more meaningful words – we can better hear and project our own intentions for the message.

Think about it for a minute. As a parent, if I’m constantly yelling, always speaking louder in competition with a child, what message comes across? The child hears a meaningless, indistinct garble. Is that what I want for my family? Is that what I want for the people I count on for results at work? Do less, not more.