Talkaholics, tone it down
HAVE you ever asked a colleague or your boss a question with the expectation of a brief answer but instead you were bombarded with a lengthy lecture?
On the other hand, have you ever asked for directions only to receive a long rambling explanation that left you more confused than before? Or, have you ever worked with someone who is a non-stop talker to such an extent you’ve half-heartedly labelled them “motormouth”?
While effective interpersonal communication in the workplace is critical to career success, someone who is a compulsive “talkaholic” will not only upset the interpersonal communication balance in the workplace but they will also doom their own career progression.
Talkaholics seem to get on a verbal roll and don’t know when to stop. They simply talk too much. Not only that, they inadvertently dominate conversations and can be quite argumentative.
Talkaholics might well ask you a question, but give you no chance to answer before they interrupt and begin relaying their own story. They don’t seem to recognize the need for balance in a conversation. They don’t seem to recognize the give and take needed between a talker and a listener. They simply talk, talk, talk and talk.
Listening to a compulsive talkaholic can be painful. In many cases, people feel trapped, and when possible, they’ll try to avoid the talker and/or state right up front that their time to listen is limited. As a listener becomes more uncomfortable, they’ll try to use body language to indicate their discomfort. The problem is the talker may not be sensitive to these signals and will simply keep on talking. In extreme cases, the listener may simply walk away in exasperation. After all, this type of one-way conversation suggests disrespect for the listener.
It doesn’t take much thought to realize the negative impact a talkaholic can have on workplace relationships as well as one’s career. When people deliberately avoid a talkaholic, there’s not only little chance for promotion, the individual won’t be welcomed on any team projects. Listening to a talkaholic becomes just too exhausting.
Since being labelled a talkaholic is a big career price for anyone to pay, I suggest engaging in self reflection to assess your own risks and to develop some strategies to avoid this pitfall. Some of the following guidelines might help.