Are you running for the exit because your gabby-mouth co-worker is headed your way? Non-stop talkers plague the people around them because they’re unrelenting and don’t pick up on behavioral cues that usually tell people you’ve grown weary of listening to them. Don’t be a captive audience for these folks.
Get A Word In Edgewise
Most motor-mouths love to hear themselves talk, so they’ll go on and on forever if you let them. High profilers believe that their words are golden and that you should feel fortunate that they’re taking the time to share their brilliance with you. But many speak in excruciating detail, as if you need to know every nuance of their thoughts in order to understand their point, and they barely take a breath in between. Don’t look for a break. Just jump in wherever you can to comment or to express your own thoughts. Sure, these talkers expect the focus to stay on them, but you have every right to get a word in edgewise. You may be accused of interrupting or talking over them but, oh well. Conversation means dialogue back and forth. Not one-way verbal torture.
Exit The Conversation
If it’s clear that your colleague simply is never going to stop talking, announce that you have to move on. Be direct about this because hinting, pulling out your keys, or backing up a step won’t work with this type of individual. So make a definitive statement such as, “OK, gotta run.” And skip the apologies and platitudes such as, “So nice to talk to you,” since clearly you don’t mean this. It’s not necessary to exit with a hostile tone and mean mug. Just wave goodbye and walk away.
Don’t Re-engage Gabbers
Non-stop talkers never quite feel satisfied, so if you didn’t fully hear them out earlier in the day, they may track you down to continue their remarks later. Or, as is often the case, they’re now onto other topics and want to be sure they give you their thoughts about these. Don’t stop what you’re doing. It’s totally fine to say that you don’t have time to chat now and to continue on your way. If you’re in your office, give a quick acknowledgement of their presence, then keep your head down, focused on your work. Re-engaging with these folks again so soon only sets the expectation that whenever their talking is cut short they can pick up where they left off later because you always have time to listen to them. Don’t set this precedent.
It takes self-confidence and firmness to limit the chatter of non-stop talkers. Remember that your time and mental space are valuable, so it’s totally fine to end one-way blabber.
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About the Author:
Dr. E. Carol Webster is a clinical psychologist consultant specializing in Success Psychology.
She is author of the book for those dealing with the stress of success ―
Success Management: How to Get to the Top and Keep Your Sanity Once You Get There,
The Fear of Success: Stop It From Stopping You! ―
the book to help you overcome fears that may be holding you back in your life and career
The Private Practice of Clinical Psychology in: Voices of Historical & Contemporary Black American Pioneers
E. Carol Webster, Ph.D.
Your Success Psychologist!
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