You may know one of these. Jeesh you might even be one of these. This person is what I like to refer to as “The Talker”. This is the person who engages you in endless and usually mindless conversation for what seems like forever and all you want to do is escape.
These conversations almost always occur at the most inappropriate time for you. Perhaps when you’re running to a meeting or to the restroom. Or maybe you have to run to your car to grab a spreadsheet you left in the car and you’ve got to get back to your desk. Whatever the case may be, you know you don’t have time to talk to this person. Additionally, you don’t want to get engaged with this person and hear about the minutia of their daily routine. Let’s run through some scenarios and figure out the best way to deal with them. Then we will discover if you’re one of those people and what you can do to curb your overs-peak.
Here’s an example of what you might consider a talker.
ME: trying to quickly get through the office quickly because I need to grab something from my car
Mike (co-worker): (yells as I rush by) Becca, hey where are you going?
ME: I have to run to the car! (I try to walk away)
Mike: Oh, Well I just wanted to tell you this hilarious story…it’s really quick. (continues talking..oblivious to the fact that I need to get a move on) Remember blah blah blah…well I just found out that he did blah blah blah
ME: Not paying any real attention, I check my watch to try to give the hint that I gotta get outta there. I try to nod and smile. I don’t want to be rude…
Mike: Yeah I spoke to blah blah blah and I was totally surprised. Oh hey are you in a rush? (he’s asking but he doesn’t really care…he just keeps talking)
ME: still desperately trying to get away but he just continies to blather on…
I think you guys get the idea. No one wants to be rude but this could go on literally for hours if you let it. You’ve been ambushed by “The Talker”. Let’s figure out some effective ways to extricate ourselves from this situation:
1. As soon as the Talker gets going you’ve got to be firm and say as politely as you can while CONTINUING to walk away, “Mike, I actually want to hear your story but the boss- man/woman just yelled at me because I forgot this file from my car and I have to run and get it…don’t want to get him/her any more mad”. Then keep on walking.
This is the really polite way to stop the conversation in it’s tracks and carry on with your task at hand. Now I said there were many ways to get out of this situation…not all of them have to be completely politically correct. Here are a couple that will stop the conversation dead in it’s tracks. caveat: I’m not saying they’re the way to go…but they’ll be funny..
2. Mike, so sorry…raging case of diarrhea. I have to get to the store down the street right NOW because I refuse to use the office bathroom for number 2.
3. Mike, I’m lactating and I need to go pump breast milk or I’m going to leak all over my shirt. (probably only works if you have a baby or if Mike doesn’t know you well enough not to know you don’t)
4. Mike, I just got my period and I need to use the ladies room or we’ll need to call the janitor for clean up in aisle “hallway” in a few
Ok these are just a few examples. I told you they weren’t all completely appropriate or you would feel comfortable using them but hey, you get to decide. So…I would love to hear what excuses you have used to stop “The Talker”. Share your thoughts. I’m sure they will be very helpful to those who may be in this situation right now!