Dealing with a ‘chatty’ co-worker

You see them coming down the hall, and immediately you begin to mentally prepare your ears for the assault, as this colleague is beyond verbose and chatty. And even when a conversation is one-sided, your co-worker will still be yapping away.

Some of us are naturally talkative and opinionated, but there are times when some of us like to hear our own voices a little too much. So, we go on and on about anything and nothing at all, driving those around us so crazy that they either tune us out or walk away.

Walking away is actually a good idea in a large organisation, as when the person pulls up to a discussion already in progress, you can just excuse yourself and find your office or workstation. However, this is not an option if the person is seated next to you. In that instance, earphones become your new best friend. Plug them in and get to work without all the white noise and drama that person usually brings.

If you are in the middle of work, simply tell them that you cannot talk now and get back to what you were doing. Avoid open-ended statements and questions and avoid asking their opinion on matters unless it is directly linked to work. As much as possible, avoid unnecessary questions since that is a gateway for them to ramble on and on.

When speaking with them is a must, ensure that you are the one directing the dialogue. It may also be helpful to demonstrate to the individual just how they sound by saying something like: ‘Let me see if I understand you correctly. You are saying that you need 10 buckets of off-white paint. Is that right?” By doing this, you reduce their ability to go off on a tangent because the only answer they should intelligently provide is a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. This also keeps the conversation moving, and at the end of the exchange, you can simply say: ‘OK, I got it’, and go merrily about your business.

If you have covered everything you need to in the conversation, then it is time to wrap it up. And, you do not have to be rude or impolite about it. You should just ensure that they know that your available time for talking is over.

Written by C.W.