Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates used this phrase in his memoir, Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War. In his case, he was mainly referring to his dealings with Congress and the press, but it’s excellent advice for anyone interested in preserving their credibility, relationships and personal effectiveness.
I’ve had the taste of my foot in my mouth often enough to know that it’s hard to do when the lips are pressed tightly together. While it may be obvious, it’s easy miss chances to shut up when we’re fired by passion for our position or our product, or even when we’re trying to help someone else. Common opportunities to shut up include: