“Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools talk because they have to say something.” – Plato
Make it Count
If you’re going to speak, make sure that it’s good. Something that matters. In Western society we fear the silence in a conversation, and feel we have to fill the gaps, which can result in “um”s, “ah”s and conversational fluff, all of which can damage how you’re perceived by others.
If you’re commenting, then speak rarely, because then people will pay attention. By waiting until the right moment before jumping in, you can think about what you’re going to say, so it’s constructive and surprising.
Be Silly. Once.
I was a professional stand-up comic for over two years. Playing the fool was a lot of fun, because the audience knew that I wasn’t really a fool. Similarly, audiences love it when someone credible playfully undermines their own authority.
Something humorous or frivolous can add to a written or spoken piece by providing variety, and if executed only once, will achieve maximum effectiveness by taking the audience by surprise. Again, I recommend biding your time; if there’s an opportunity to get in a witty comment, then do it if the conditions are right. And if you do get a laugh then for goodness’ sake don’t try to repeat your success; I guarantee that any subsequent attempts will be considerably less effective, and possibly annoying.
If you want to have an impact when writing or speaking, then say something important.
When commenting and/or being humorous, then don’t use a scattergun approach of volume over quality. Be like a sniper: take your time, hit the mark once and then leave.
See also: ‘Be Unpredictable’