Pet Peeve: Folks That Need To Talk

I hate to think about the number of “meetings” that I have attended over my adult life. I think I am afraid to think of all those hours that I was sitting, listening, discussing and attempting to get things done. Have you ever thought about how many meetings you have attended? Do you want to think about it? Thinking back on meetings, there are many scenarios that pop into my head when I think about them. Most memories are not good. There is one particular scenario that came to the quickly and very clear. Almost so clear that I was replaying the meeting again. Have you ever been in meetings with a person that just has to talk? You know the person that monopolizes most of the conversation. That same person that if you really listened to what they were saying – you probably have heard it thousands of times. The meeting(s) that popped into my head – have that person clearly visible to me. We all know folks that just can not let silence rule for very long.

Do you confront the situation or just let it go? For me there is only one answer – time to approach that person and have a quick, frank discussion. Here are the steps that I like to take:

  • Take the individual away from the work environment. Politely ask them, “got a few minutes to grab a coffee or soda?”
  • Start off the discussion with the overall purpose of why you want to meet with them. Tell them that you have noticed a change in behavior during meetings. Ask them what is up?
  • Listen… Seek to understand. If they have nothing to say – then…
  • Let them know how their actions are impacting the overall work environment (if you are their manager – their performance).
  • Offer to help with ideas on how to act differently. Like taking a moment or two to think internally about what is going they would like to say. Or add only “new or proven ideas” to the discussion.
  • Offer to have a coffee or soda after the next few meetings to provide feedback.

What do you do?