The Talkative Co-Worker

We’ve all got at least one that we work with – the talkative coworker – the one who just never stops talking. They always seem to have something to say, usually in the most long and drawn out way, with every single detail explained unnecessarily. You know the one? The co-worker you secretly avoid because you know they will unhelpfully take your time and curb your effectiveness. Or, perhaps you don’t know this person? Is it possible YOU could be this person??

This post came about as a result of me sitting in a café this morning for 46 minutes. The reason I know it was 46 minutes is because the lady sitting with her friend at the table next to me talked for the entire time (all bar about 40 seconds). And I’m not exaggerating. You wouldn’t have known it just by listening, but she was actually with someone who had to listen to her talk for 46 minutes. Non-stop. In fact, when I left the café, she was STILL talking.

Halfway through this 46 minute talking marathon, I discovered this lady was a teacher. Oh how I feel for her coworkers, and also for her students! Her example has tremendous influence.

And here’s the thing: this lady lacked awareness on every level. And this lack of awareness probably means that she doesn’t realize that she talks so much. That’s what this post is all about. To help you identify if you might be one of these always-talking-never-listening people.

Here’s 4 ways to figure out if you are that talkative coworker, and what you can do about it.

1. Be self aware

In your next interaction with a co-worker, be self aware of how much you are talking and how much you are listening. If you find that you’ve done all the talking, then stop talking and start listening.

2. Be other-person aware

Is the person you’re talking to actually listening? What is their body language saying? Are they actually engaged in what you’re saying? Do they even seem to care about what you’re talking about? Look at their eyes and their face – is it engaged with you and your words? If the answer to any of these questions is no, then perhaps you are talking too much. Stop talking and start listening.

3. Be environmentally aware

A talkative person always lacks environmental awareness. They are so focused on what they are saying that they miss all the ‘cues’ around them that might help them to realize that they are talking too much. In the café this morning, the talking lady wasn’t even aware that I was staring at her (I was trying not to but I just couldn’t help it because she did not stop talking). She wasn’t aware of people trying to get past her or of anything that was happening around her. She just kept talking. By being environmentally aware you might just help yourself to realize that you ARE that talkative co-worker and that you DO need to do something about it. Stop talking and start listening. Being curious is a great way to learn to listen.

4. Be detail aware

The talking lady this morning explained everything in intricate detail – from her acrylic nails to her son’s bedroom to her upcoming calendar of events. The amount of detail that she went into was just ridiculous, and frankly, completely lacked self discipline. Are you including too much detail when you talk to others? Do a little self-audit and take mental note of how much detail you go into when retelling stories or talking to your co-workers. Miniscule details are mostly not helpful nor do others have the time to listen. If you find that you are telling too much, then do something about it. Stop talking and start listening.

This week’s assignment:

This week, please, for your sake and for those you work with, do a self-check and identify if YOU are a TALKATIVE co-worker. If you are, then please do something about it. Stop talking and start listening. Your colleagues will be ever thankful, and you’ll notice how enjoyable it is to listen and to learn to relate to other people.

Enjoy the journey,

And more importantly,

Enjoy the moments.



QUESTION: Do you work with a talkative person? What’s most frustrating for you? Leave your comments here.

(I’m going to write about how to deal with The Talkative Co-Worker, so I would appreciate you sharing your frustrations).