Practice silence. You can often add words, but you can never take them away. This is the opposite of how haircuts work.
“Help!” I exclaimed as I walked into the pricey, fashion-forward hair salon. Quite apart from the fact that I was talking to a stylist, a quick glance at my “haircut” made it painfully obvious what I needed “help” with. If male-pattern baldness followed the pattern of, say, leopard skin, my look would have been a good imitation. “No,” I admitted, “my wife has never cut anyone’s hair before.” “And yes,” I assured the gathering onlookers, “it was consensual.” The stylist had no choice but to keep shearing, leaving me with a fairly expensive buzz cut.
Like cutting hair, talking proceeds only in one direction. With a haircut you can only keep subtracting. With spoken words, you can’t subtract at all. And I’ve learned the hard way that it’s wise to remember that before plugging in the clippers or opening my mouth.