Communication Tips

But They Talk Too Much

Have you ever thought “I want to give my direct report the time they need but they talk too much. Every time they walk into my office it’s a half hour conversation and I don’t have that kind of time.”

We all have that one direct report who just can’t seem to get to the point. They’re thought process is long and drawn out and they have to verbalize every little detail. Then they come back the next day and revisit the subject with the same detail and energy that they communicated the day before. You want to help, but every response you provide just opens up another can of details. They connect dots that are only obvious to them and it makes perfect sense to only them.

In working with this mentality, it becomes more manageable when you understand how their mind thinks because the solution is not in your answer, but in your questions. You can’t possibly find a solution to every detail they share, but you can redirect their thinking and get them focused thus saving time.

Think of their conversation like a target with a #1 ring on the far outer perimeter, and a bullseye in the middle. Long winded talkers talk out at the #1 ring which surrounds the bullseye but they don’t hit the bullseye. Every little detail in the #1 ring has it’s own little point so in their mind, there is a good reason to describe every point in pertinent detail. They don’t get to the main overarching bullseye point.

Since you can’t give them the endless time they require, try doing this. Let them speak for a bit to hear the energy and sincerity they communicate behind their words. When the time is right, call a time out with a statement like “I hear how important this is to you”, and then ask them a “bullseye” question like, “what I need to know is why does this matter to you”. This will pull them from the #1 ring right into the bullseye and in the process, cut a good half hour out of their conversation continuum. Then you can help them solve the one overarching problem or goal they are trying to communicate to you.