Open mouth, insert foot. It's the verbal equivalent of walking through a restaurant with toilet peper on your shoe. We've all experienced the mortification of poor verbal choices. Sometimes, embarrassing stuff just happens. Letting those blunders happen more often than not, though, is a problem that goes beyond stuff that sometimes happens.
1. Slow Down: I'm reminded of reading only the first part of a test question only to have it turn out the actual question was in the part I didn't take time to read. Being impatient diminishes the amount of information you have at hand, which leads to uninformed or ill-informed comments. You haven't demonstrated complete interest in someone else; you've taken over control of their speech. You're seen as self-centered, rude, brainless and uncaring. Men report that women talk too much; men say that's the reason they don't listen. Whatever the cause, look for the speaker to to shut down, and become disinterested in you as a conversation partner.
2. Pay Attention: It is nothing short of insulting when the listener doesn't appear to be listening. The oops can be verbal or non-verbal: eyes looking elsewhere instead of making contact with the speaker; paying attention to their own task while saying they're listening; saying something irrelevant to the conversation. As I describe in my blog, some of my worst oopses have come from replacing the speaker's reality with my own. The result is that I'm left behind and the speaker knows it's because I've broken a cardinal rule of good communication: I haven't paid attention. I cringe every time I look at a picture taken at a business function where one of the guys I'm talking to is looking around the room, not at me. When that happens to you pay attention to how you feel; I guarantee you won't do it to anyone else.