Expression: "Speak less..."


On one of the publicity boards a mobile phone company has very proudly written:

“Speak less, say more.”

Could you please explain the (hidden) meaning to me?


Hi Tom

Sounds like they’re planning to raise their rates to me and they think if you speak less, you won’t notice the price increase. :lol:

“Get as much meaning as you can into the fewest words possible.”

It seems like a mobile phone company would want to encourage you to do just the opposite. They’d make more money if you spoke more (longer).

Maybe they’re trying to promote their SMS service? You can “say” things with a SMS, but you can’t “speak” with an SMS…



:slight_smile: …or maybe they hint at the great difference (for them :slight_smile: ) between speaking-in-response (just for answer) and saying (as doing an ‘active’ call - especially to say something)? :slight_smile:

And want to encourage clients to make more outcoming calls :lol:

Hi Tamara

That sounds like a possibility, too! :lol:

I also thought of the current crop of smilies/graphics that cell phones use. You can just send graphics in order to “say” something.


I’d recommend you don’t use “outcoming” that way (even though it sounds as if it is used as “techie jargon” :lol:)
Compare: incoming vs. outgoing
But, that also brought another interesting comparison to my mind:
income vs. outcome 8)


A famous man in the training business in my city used to say, “The more you say, the less you mean.”

This is often so true, I find. Also, the more you say, the more opportunities to put your foot in it or the more room to say silly things :lol: !

Have you noticed how people won’t listen to each other? Many just want to talk and talk and talk and be listened to (if at least their ramblings were interesting!). They can’t be bothered to listen to what others have to say.

I think that people, more especially the elderly, need an ear, sympathetic or not.

There are also people who talk and talk because they’re nervous, and people who talk and talk because they have a lot to say. People in these categories are usually perfectly happy to listen to other people, but because they talk a lot, others just mistakenly assume that they will never listen, and nobody tries to talk to them.

Isn’t it a pity how misunderstandings can arise in communication and even lead to serious confusion? Wrong body language, wrong words, wrong messages, wrong interpretation… Maybe we just forget that people have different ways of communicating. Or we are too quick to pass blanket judgements and put labels on each other. Psychology should be a school subject, don’t you think? It would help us a lot in social interaction, as in so many other areas.

An example of the vaudeville style confusions we can get into in life (perhaps psychology might not have been of any help in this particular case!):

When she was single, my mother once waved goodbye to a boyfriend (she calls them ‘suitors’ – ‘pretendientes’, in Spanish), from a train window and he mistook her gesture for a negative (maybe she forgot to smile at the same time?).

We should really start that thread about body signs one day :slight_smile: !

Hi Amy!

I know that ‘incoming-outgoing’ are usual and proper words, but could you say a bit more, what’s wrong with ‘outcoming calls’ as a fixed expression?

My dictionary (although, I know and admit that it’s not the best) gives it as acceptable.
Some leaflets and sites also use both, for example:
(outgoing calls on the top of the page and outcoming call barring at the very bottom)

P.S. Anyway, thank you for you note: of course, I’ll try to follow your recommendation. It’s just a question to understand a bit more about improper/jargon expressions.

Years ago I worked in an IT Helpdesk and we created lots of statistics and spoke about calls but never used the word ‘outcoming call’.

The right description were: incoming calls, outgoing calls, abandoned calls etc.

I can’t tell you why ‘outcoming’ not the best selection is in connection with phone calls but for me out means from me and coming means to me.

2 opposite meaning put together in 1 word. If somebody would tell me this expression during a conversation, I’d be in trouble because I wouldn’t know, does he mean incoming or outgoing calls.

Hi attila


As I said, I know the right description. And will try to use it with no exception.
Just because. And despite of what I sometimes hear.

But what about outcome as a noun? Sounds better? :slight_smile:


Hi Tamara

Despite the risk of possibly giving you “incorrect” American information, I would say that phone calls are either incoming or outgoing and that “outcoming” would be either colloquial at best or possibly a misinterpretation on your part. For me, the usage is incorrect.

The nouns “income” and “outcome” have nothing specifically to do with telephoning. My assumption was that those words were already part of your vocabulary. But I thought those two words might have been a possible source of confusion which resulted in your using “outcoming”. 8)


Hi Amy

OK. Thank you.

P.S. (Just to make a note for Pamela.)
Pamela, if you try to ask ABBYY Lingvo for outcoming call, it normally accepts it and the outcome :slight_smile: is исходящий вызов. Right?

Again: be careful with this, advertise-in-a-big-way, dictionary, as sometimes it misleads. Believe me :slight_smile: