Oprah, Letterman, Leno, Chelsea (and Conan, once upon a time) — all earn pretty paychecks talking. Sure, Oprah oversees a multimedia empire and Leno has his comedy career, but their primary jobs are hosting talk shows and gabbing with guests. They all have the same career — basically chitchatting in front of the world. That’s the entertainment world, though, and most of us aren’t paid to be that verbal.
I’ve known office workers whose draconian bosses actually reprimanded them for talking too much. Not for job performance problems or deadline issues. No, they were good workers; they just got in trouble for talking — as if they were first-graders during a school assembly. Oy.
Not everyone likes to gab, so a quiet workplace doesn’t bother some people. But for workers who can’t keep their lips sealed, silence is torturous. To help those of us who thrive on jibber jabber, here are six careers to consider. These jobs require more skills and education than just the ability to gab, but talking plays an important role that will make your day that much better:
You can’t possibly list every responsibility nurses have. Whether in an emergency room, physician’s office or a number of other settings, nurses are working one-on-one with patients, ensuring tests are ordered, updating charts and staying calm. Patients who are sick or about to undergo surgery are often temperamental, nervous or just having a good old-fashioned freak-out. The best nurses stay on task while talking to patients, whether finding out more information about their malady or just trying to keep everyone calm. Here, the gift of gab can be a patient’s dream.
Dispatchers obviously rely on their speaking skills to find out information about emergencies, so that’s a no-brainer. Among their many skills, a knack for conversation is just as important as the ability to extract and report information. In emergencies, people (e.g., witnesses, victims) get unnerved and often frantic. Dispatchers maintain conversations with the callers until help arrives, and that’s no easy task as they have to be calm and think quickly under stress.
If you’re going to sell anything — a pair of jeans, a car, a business plan — words are your best friends. Anyone who works in sales has to know when being aggressive is appropriate and when toning it down is better. Not every technique works every time, so understanding how to talk most effectively to the customer is a skill not everyone is blessed with.
I know I’m not the only person who has been at a dental appointment, wearing the fashionable paper bib and protective glasses, while the dentist chips away at my teeth and asks how my job is. Luckily, most dentists have the good sense to time their questions when I’m about to get a break from all the oral construction going on so I can respond. Good dentists know how to fill the silence of a dental visit without peppering the patient with questions he or she can’t answer. At the same time, they understand that we don’t want to hear 30 minutes of personal ramblings while we’re a captive audience (with a numb mouth).
For many people, hairstylists are the human equivalent of a Leatherman knife — you know the kind that is basically a pocket-size MacGyver. Hairstylists serve as some clients’ confidante and therapist as well as their stylist. While they’re clipping hair and mixing dyes, stylists are forming bonds with their clients as they discuss their lives and jobs. Anyone who’s experienced an awkwardly silent haircut knows how strange it is to be inches from the person holding the scissors and looking at you in the mirror, and yet you have nothing to say to each other for the full hour.
Perhaps most important for the stylist is the ability to communicate what he or she will be doing to the client. If the client asks for a trim and the stylist says, “Sure, we can do that,” then proceeds to chop off 6 inches — well, that’s not good. Effective communication benefits them both (and probably leads to a better tip).
News reporters, as far as the public is concerned, are just talking heads, but they do more than just stand in a hurricane and tell you that, yep, it’s wet and windy. Reporters interview people, both in taped segments and on air, and you don’t want a mumbling, incoherent mess doing that job. Amazing news goes unnoticed if the reporters’ speaking abilities are subpar, so their talking prowess needs to be as outstanding as their investigative skills. You want someone who can talk on camera as if he or she is talking to you one-on-one, and that’s not easy.
If you’re a talker and have found a way to earn a paycheck, let us know. We know there are more jobs out there that other chatty readers would love to know about.