These folks talk incessantly, often off topic. They see that you want to make a comment or ask a question and talk over you about something else interesting to them. Some people get so deeply into their monologues that you, as the listener, may feel invisible.
Interestingly, this anxious behavior mounts in the presence of authority figures (parents, bosses, etc.) who are typically judgmental or punitive. These over-talkers are avoiding the topics that may elicit shame or blame. Conversely, when they are surrounded by their peers in more accepting situations, this behavior is reduced. As a founder or manager, there are ways to help the over-talker be less anxious and fearful.
- To help them get comfortable with you, have more frequent conversations on lighter topics that do not arouse this fear response. Let them know the lighter topics to be discussed in advance of the conversation, if possible. Reinforce any positive restraint to over talk.
- For heavier discussions, get responses to these concerns writing.
- When an exchange must occur in person and the over-talking persists, mention your frustration – you may need to talk over them until they stop talking! Tell him or her that because you want to help these conversations be more productive you will signal (raising an index finger or standing up) your desire to speak.
- If they ignore the cues and appear totally helpless in curbing this behavior, the most helpful thing you can do is suggest they seek professional help.
Social anxiety is a common communication problem. It can be highly dysfunctional and prevent a person from contributing to the team in a positive way. Look into CoreCoaching. Contact me at Rebecca@MindfulCommunication.com