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Over Talkers

What Is Over Talking? Stopping The Over Talker
Help For The Over Talker Telling Them of The Problem

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Stopping The Over Talker
By Getting Off The Phone
In Person
Teaching/Training/People In Groups

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What Is Over Talking?
For the most part, over talking has little to do with how much you're
saying.  Rather it's more about being unfair with the other person's time.

We've all talked with a close friend for hours and lost track of the time. 
Time didn't matter to us because we were both free to respond, free to change the subject or free just get off the phone.  And so our conversation flowed and no one got hurt or angry.

But even one minute with an over talker seems like an eternity.  The reason is because
we're very conscious of our time whenever
the conversation is one sided, or whenever we feel our needs or opinions are being ignored.  So if the conversation has no give and take, you can bet there's over talking.

The Signs of a Good Conversation
A good conversation has give and take.  It involves both people talking, both
people listening and both people responding.  Everyone feels included.  And everyone
can get a word in, or change the subject, or even choose to end the conversation.  For any reason.   

Both sides get something out of it.  And because there's mutual respect, the conversation can
last for hours. No one leaves upset and no one feels violated. 

For How To Have A Good Conversation With Over Talkers, See Stopping The Over Talker

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Help For The Over Talker

Do You Talk Too Much?



    • Get so lost in your own point that you ignore the signs of your listener losing interest.
    • Try all at once to spill out whatever is on your mind-Remember the 30 second rule.
    • Devote most of your mental energies on what you will say next (LISTEN!).
    • Interrupt.
    • Find excuses to stay on the phone when the other person wants to go.
    • Demand to know why the other person must get off the phone. (They'll dread
      ever talking to you again).

What Good Listeners Do

How To Avoid Over Talking At Job Interviews
Be Clear and Concise. Be honest and succinct with your responses. Tell the truth in as positive a manner as possible, and don't discuss things or events in a negative fashion. Long answers are less effective than concise responses and tend to make interviewers suspicious. Stay on topic and avoid tangents.  If you are talking more than 90 seconds without interaction with the interviewer, you may be giving them more detail than they want. If you feel you may be talking too long, just stop and ask the interviewer a question like, “Am I giving you the level of detail you're looking for?” This prompts a response and promotes an open exchange of information. Besides, if you're putting the interviewer to sleep with your long-winded answers, asking a question will wake them up.
For More See

Help For Those Who Talk Too Much and

Become A Better Listener

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Getting Off The Phone (For More Suggestions See about.com)

Don't Think You Can Just Multi-Task While They Ramble On.
Multi-tasking is sometimes unavoidable and certainly a little is OK.  But the studies show no one really multitasks well.  And when you're not really listening, it's a disservice to both you and your caller.  So why enable them with a bad habit and then resent them for taking up your time?  Instead, here's how you can free yourself from unwanted conversations and give your caller the respect they deserve.


  • Enjoy Their Conversation. But Set A Time Limit. Immediately at the start, say you can only talk for ten minutes.  Do this as soon as you know who it is. If you don't, it gets much tougher later on. Half way through, remind them you must go in 5 minutes.  Once their time is up, in an apologetic voice say. "Sorry, but as I said, I have to go. We'll have to catch up  at church/at Tuesday's meeting/at the party... Bye."  If the caller asks why you have to go, repeat slightly more firmly. "I have to go. Bye." Then hang up. (Why you have to go is your own business. They must respect your right to end the conversation).
  • Seize the Pause.  For those who take a pause, immediately use it to disengage. See the tips below.

  • Paraphrase and Summarize To Keep Phone Calls On Track.
    If you're speaking to someone on the phone who seems to want to chat or stray from the point, say something such as, "So what I hear you saying is..." or "So the key points are..." or "Is (insert summary) a fair summary of what you were saying?"  Don't be chatty.  Just keep them focused and then end the call.
  • Steer The Caller To Emailing You Or Calling At Another Time More Convenient.
    After 5 minutes tell your caller "Susan, I got a lot of things going on but we should talk further on this.  Why not email me or my associate Jon with the things we didn't cover and we'll touch base soon after that."  Or give your caller a better time to call.  "Our weekly conference call is coming up this Wednesday, let's discuss it then with the group.  Talk to you soon.  Bye."
  • Avoid Talking When The Caller Is Just Killing Time.  People will often talk longer (and pay less attention to your boundaries) during commuting times such as when they're on the train or stuck in traffic, when they're doing some mundane task like shopping, washing dishes or folding laundry.  The worst is when they're just burning extra cell phone minutes.  Often you can get an idea when the caller has this free time.  For example: The friend who calls you always during rush hour or on Sunday nights.  Screen your calls and return them later at a time best for you.
  • Close Each Inbound Phone Call with a Summary of Whatever Action You and the Caller Have Agreed to Take.
    While this will only take seconds in most cases, it can save you a lot of time by avoiding errors and the need to double-check.  For instance, after a conversation during which you arranged a meeting with a client, you might say, "Good. I'll meet with you at your office at (insert location) at 10 a.m. tomorrow and we'll go over the samples together."
  • Give The Caller Cues That The Conversation Is About To End.  On the phone, you can’t depend on visual hints so, you’ll just have to be more verbal.  Explain you have to go now, have errands to do, or don’t like being on the phone this long etc.  For some you can just stop responding and give one word answers to let them know your interest in waning.  Others need more direction.

    Do not lie to get off the phone. Use completely honest reasons that you cannot talk longer.
    "I need to use the bathroom."
    " I need to go."
    "Let's talk sometime soon, take care/goodbye."
    "It was wonderful talking, and..."
    "I talked way too long yesterday."
    "I am way behind on laundry."
    "I need to study."
    "I need some quiet time."
    "I need to get ready for my big day."
    "I'm walking the dog."
    "I need to exercise."
    "My ear hurts."
    "Someone else wants to use the phone."
  • Return Their Calls Only When You Or They Will Have To Go Shortly.  For example: Call ten minutes before their favorite TV show, or within ten minutes of when you or they have to pick up the kids, eat dinner, go to work, etc. Screen your calls and return them at a more convenient time.
  • For Heavy Overtalkers: Break Their Momentum And Take The Conversation To A Close.  Don't wait for them to take a breath.  With severe overtalkers it may never happen.  Interrupt with Excuse me I have to put you on hold for a minute. Count to twenty or thirty.  Rearrange your desk, stretch your arms, or walk out in the hall.  But when you return, make sure you're the first one to talk.  Immediately seize control of the conversation without taking a breath or asking if they’re on the line.  One way to do this is to summarize the problem or course of action.  For example “Hi John, so I understand you really need to talk to an attorney.  Here's what I suggest....Well I have to go now but his number is blah blah blah.  We’ll talk later. Bye."  Or "Hi John.  Look, now is a bad time.  I have to go but we’ll talk later.  Good-bye."

    For those who really go on and on.  Interrupt by saying their name a few times.  Example: "John, John, John" are you there?  We’ll have to take this up a little later.  I have to go now/don’t like being on the phone this long/have errands to do, We'll catch up on things later. Talk to you soon."
  • Meet The Caller In Person. If they like to linger, sandwich them into a schedule where they can only stay for a short time.  Many over talkers are likeable, good people.  Don't miss out on their company.  Just set limits so you can enjoy being with them.

See Help For The Over Talker

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Talking In Person

For Strangers Co-Workers & Acquaintances

How Can I Tell My Friend She Talks Too Loud?
Say to Her: "I'm interested in what you're saying. But I start to blank out when you talk so loud. If I need you to talk lower, is there a way I can tell you so without hurting your feelings?" Most people will say just tell them so, or that you can give them a hand signal if they need to turn down the volume. Either way, you've set the ground rules so it will be easier next time.


Your friend probably doesn’t realize she is on over-volume. Say to her in a very nice way “I’m so sorry, but you probably don’t realize your voice is carrying over loudly.” Then just smile, and continue the conversation in a volume that is acceptable. You might even prevent embarrassment that would be caused if a third party said something. (this excerpt is from Protocol & Business Etiquette.)

See Help For The Over Talker

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Teaching/Training/People In Groups

Try these tips to discourage over-talkers and encourage others to participate.

Also, if a participant is taking over by talking too long, too much, feel free to interrupt between thoughts, and clearly say "We need to move on, so everyone gets an opportunity to express their concerns in the time allowed."

Dealing With Difficult People (Links & Articles)
Mostly on teaching or training or doing seminars.
Also has good general tips.

Over Talkers In A Group Or Training Session (See Talking it Out-Last Paragraph)
An overly talkative person can ruin an entire meeting or training class. Use the following strategies to create an atmosphere in which everyone can participate.

Difficult Audiences
Responding to the Dominator, Eager Beaver, Expert, Rambler and Complainer.
The 3D Strategy: Depersonalize, Detach, and Defuse.

Kind Ways To Diffuse or Manage Difficult People (See P34)

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Telling Them Of The Problem

Be good rather than nice. If there's a problem, your friends and family deserve to know.

Keeping silent will hurt both of you because over talking is the type of problem that only gets worse unless something is done about it. Usually, the over talker is completely oblivious to the harm he's causing. So they will unknowingly cross over your boundaries, again and again. Your anxiety will mount, and sooner or later you will punish them for it. Whether this means by avoiding them or just by smoldering inside, you will resent them, and they will feel betrayed.

Friends should be told gently that they're talking too much. For example you may say,"Look, I’ve spent too much time on the phone and I’m getting off.  We’ll talk later."  Then, as soon as you can, follow up with an email or explain the problem in person.

For example: “John, I like talking to you but sometimes I fear we never get off the phone. I want the freedom to say I have to go now. I also want to know my wishes will be respected.  Yesterday I said I had to go three times. But for some reason you kept talking. What should I do next time?"

Or, "Sue, when we talk, I feel sometimes like I'm just a prop. Yesterday I couldn't get a word in edgewise and I felt very left out. Almost like my thoughts didn't matter to you. I know you don't feel that way, but I want to be included too. I also want to know I can end a conversation without hurting your feelings or being asked to explain why. If this happens again, what should I do?"

For Coworkers and Acquaintances

If you know someone who rambles, don't assume they know it themselves. Sadly, even if they do know, they probably don't know how to stop, or they would have already. You can help. Approach them respectfully and non-judgmentally and try to say something as close as possible to the following: "Sometimes when you talk for more than a minute or two without stopping, I feel frustrated. I need more focus." [Or, "I need to move along faster."] "Can you try to talk for only a minute or so at a time, then ask me what I want to hear about before you go on?" If you don't have their attention yet, ask them how important it is to them, and to their organization, that they be clearly understood. When you think you have their attention, discuss the one minute tool with them.

See Help For The Over Talker

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Over Talkers