Do you have trouble getting back to your job because you can’t shake yourself free from a talker? Some people have never learned the art of keeping conversations brief; and to complicate the matter, some people are afraid that they are being rude if they make an assertive attempt to end a conversation that has gone on way too long. However, it’s never rude to allow someone to dominate time that you should be spending on something else.
Regardless, we are in the relationship building business, and that can make it difficult to deal with people. So how do you end a conversation that should have already ended? Here’s two ideas, but they must be utilized in this order:
- Listen well. One of the reasons talkers tend to repeat themselves and never land the plane is because they don’t feel like they are being understood. Listening well includes looking like you are listening and responding with words that reflect the essence of what they are saying. That does not include filler words (uh-huh, yea, “I hear you,” “got it”). A reflective response may even be a clarifying question. People have fewer reasons to continue talking if you understand their main point or the emotion they want to convey.
- Give them a notice. When a conversation has gone on too long, or when it appears the conversation could go on too long, let them know that you have to go in a moment. That will require them to get straight to the point. There’s nothing rude about saying, “I have a class and need to go in two minutes” or “I have to leave in three minutes to go home because my family is expecting me.” Honesty is the best approach, and the honest fact is that you have something else to do. If you say it kindly, no offense should be taken.
And for the sake of not being hypocritical, don’t be offended when someone else uses this technique with you. Be glad that they respect you enough to be honest and escape you kindly.