Do You Talk Too Much?

Do You Talk Too Much?

Excessive talking is often considered a character flaw. Labels such as “Chatty Cathy” or “Babbling Bob” are given to those of us who maintain one-sided conversations, go on and on about themselves and leave you feeling bored and wishing you could somehow escape their company.

Do you talk to much?Do you know anyone who never stops talking? People who won’t shut up? Are you a Chatty Cathy or Babbling Bob?

The problem with excessive talking is that people will tend to avoid you for fear of becoming trapped in another long-winded, one-sided conversation. The more a talkative individual is avoided, the more they feel isolated and thus motivated to capture their next listener, and try to hold their attention. It’s a vicious circle, but there is a way out.

I will admit to analyzing communication style. It is engrained in me, an essential part of the work I do with relationship strategies to improve workplace and customer relations. My analysis: most people talk more than they listen. I included myself among them, until I made a conscious effort to listen to others. I remember sitting in my car that day prior to attending a Chamber of Commerce networking event, and promising myself I would seek only to listen to as many people as possible.

The results: better networking than ever before, and better conversion from prospect to sale. Why? Because people felt great meeting me. They got to talk about their favourite subject (themselves) and felt understood when I reiterated what they had just finished telling me.

You can make more friends in two days by listening to people than you can make in two months by talking to people. It’s a strategy that improves the quality of communication, sales and team morale.

We were given two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we talk. Try it, and notice the positive shift in your relationships. If too much listening and too little talking ever becomes a problem, let me know, and I will retire.

Best wishes for deep listening,

Penny

Ps: What do you do if you are not the chatterbox? How do you escape? How do you foster change in this behaviour of others?

Do You Talk Too Much?

Have you ever been cornered by an excessive talker?  A “Chatty Cathy”? You know, the ones who ramble on and on, offering too much information about something that doesn’t even concern you? I’m often asked, “How do you escape these situations, and how do you correct this kind of behaviour?”

There are two important points to keep in mind:

(1) Separate the person  – a friend or co-worker, for example – from the problem – excessive talking. They are two different things.  When you can make this distinction, you can have hope in the situation.

(2) Your role is to correct this behaviour where it concerns you.

When confronted with a Chatty Cathy or Babbling Bob, wait until you can get a word in edgewise, and let the talker know that you have other priorities or commitments and can no longer listen.  You may have to interrupt them, because some excessive talkers don’t leave any gaps in the conversation.  If the chatter’s topic is of a personal nature, ask them to hold off on the casual conversation until lunchtime, or to stay after work to discuss the issue.  They will realize that your priority is your job, and your boss will, too.

Another strategy is to physically move toward a new location.  As you guide your talker out of your office or cubicle –  perhaps to the printer, the bathroom,  the water cooler, or to take out the trash, you are taking control of the situation.  Whatever changes the situation and circumstance will help you escape.  But wait – what if your talker waits until you return to continue their one-sided conversation? In this case, it may be time to change the behaviour.

When excessive talking becomes a chronic problem, someone needs to step up to the plate and tell Chatty Cathy that her bad habit is not gaining her any respect. This kind of feedback takes courage, in giving and receiving. Nevertheless, with good intentions, I encourage people to provide this feedback to others when necessary, in a kind and considerate way. What have you got to lose? Worst-case scenario, they decide never to talk to you again. While that would technically solve your problem, you would both be passing on an opportunity to grow as people and begin to communicate more effectively.

Read more on this topic in my August article, “Do You Talk Too Much?” at www.5.idee.ca