And three hours later he/she finally shuts up and asks what is new with you. You were so exhausted (or irritated) that you have no interest in even replying. You wanted to take a nap. Of course you had already ripped your eyes out of their sockets and were not sure you could even find your way to the nearest bed.
Oh c’mon, you know you’ve experienced this; the conversation with the person who just doesn’t seem to come up for air. Maybe it wasn’t three hours but it did seem so. I’ll bet it was at minimum a 20-minute run-on sentence. (Where is Mrs. Soff when I need her and her grammar rules?) It happens with family members. It happens with friends. It is particularly common in the workplace with managers and leaders who just have this incessant need to hear themselves talk; stifling creativity and rarely allowing for free exchange of ideas.
Is it intentional? Do they not want you to be part of the conversation? Are they just so excited about things going on in their life they don’t even realize they are doing this? Do they even know they’re doing this to people? Or are they just so totally in love with their own self?
Now I guess a good thing is if anyone ever did try to drown this person they should be able to hold their breath for a very long time. And if it was a Roman Empire-like water fight to the death he or she would become the new King/Queen.
So while you were doing other things during that call (rolling your eyes, updating your Facebook status, or attempting to make your computer ring as if “that call you were waiting for” was coming through) I was doing something more productive. It’s time to take a permanent Recess from unhealthy conversations…….
Stop Talking ”TO” Me: The 3 simple rules for Talking “WITH” me.:
- When you call someone please clarify (or ask if you are the receiver) if this will be a talking “to” or talking “with” conversation. If you are on the receiving end of a talking to conversation, tell that person you have a very important meeting you are about to attend or go get large bottles of alcohol.
- Your “Talking With” conversation should occur in rounds with each person given no more than 90 seconds at a time to speak. Please purchase a time piece of some sort if you have no clue that even 90 seconds of listening to some people is enough to make others want to jump off a bridge. (Note: I don’t even like bridges. So me walking onto the bridge in the 1st place is evidence of the severity of this issue.)
- Learn how to ask questions that might allow the other person to contribute to your thoughts or ideas. First, this will force you to take a breath (see I am interested in your health). Next, it will actually force the other person to listen and avoid awkward silence at the end of what seems like a keynote address when you ask “So what do you think?”
And in those famous shampoo bottle words…..Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Meaning, practicing this technique regularly might result in people taking your calls a bit more often rather than letting your call go to voice mail.
RICH DIGIROLAMO, founder Recess At Work, works with organizations to create happier work environments, strengthen work teams, design new programs, and create better relationships with customers and peers. Sometimes even to save a customer.
Of course, then there are the ones who ask you what is new with you and the minute you start speaking you screw up; you pause and take a breath. Sorry, you had your chance.