09 Oct How Productive Leaders Manage Over-Talkers
This week I’m sharing content from an another article I was featured in. Thanks again to Kathyrn Vasel, of CNN Business for the great article on How to shut down an over-talker at your next meeting.
(CNN)Meetings can be a bore, but they can really drag on when someone is talking too much or going off topic.
“I’ve never led a team where there isn’t some degree of someone who is an over-talker,” said Ellen Faye, a productivity and leadership coach.
“You want meetings to be useful, and if you have someone who goes on and on — that meeting has become non-productive,” said Faye.
Set a firm agenda
It’s easier to keep people on track with a comprehensive agenda that includes topics and time frames. It provides a blueprint to what will (and won’t) be discussed, which can help people stay on topic.
Set the tone of the meeting from the start: Telling attendees that you plan to keep things moving and on topic can make people more aware of their speaking time and make it less awkward if you have to step in.
You can request that people keep their comments to around one minute or two, or that they share their top thought and then move on to the next person, Faye recommended.Another option is to outline that you want to hear from each participant at least once, but no more than three times.
“That way, everyone is compelled to speak up and participate, but the over-talkers will be more limited,” said Faye.
Steer them back on track
We can all get into the weeds sometimes and risk getting bogged down with details that aren’t relevant.
If that’s happening, Faye suggested saying something like: Those are great details to work on. Let’s keep a note of that for later.
“It takes a leader with confidence to know when enough is enough,” she said.
Create a ‘parking lot’
Making sure participants feel heard is important, but sometimes their ideas just aren’t relevant to the topic at hand.
Those ideas can be sent to a “parking lot,” which is a list you create, either on paper or for everyone to see.
This validates an idea, but keeps the conversation on topic. Just make sure to circle back to the parking lot at the end of the meeting.
“The actions in the parking lot need to be forwarded in some way,” advised Hallie Crawford, a certified career coach. That could mean moving an ideato the next meeting’s agenda, assigning someone to look into it, or dealing with it via email.