Talkers are, in my experience, increasing. I met yet another one last week; he went on and on and on, and on. He fit the profile: as Margaret Millar said, “Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.”
There are many reasons people become talkers and talk too much, including:
- Some people are lonely and relieved to finally have a witness.
- Some people are stressed and use talking as a release.
- Some people are trying too hard to fit in.
- Some people are auditory and need to hear the words as they think through ideas. (They are really talking to themselves.)
- Some people are kinesthetic and need to move; they choose to move their jaws to meet this need.
- Some people simply don’t know how to hold a conversation.
Talkers pay a price. Their witnesses very often stop listening. Some people try to listen only to realize the effort drains their energy. People who are sensitive to noise not only stop listening, the noise stresses them and can even be painful. Some people talk over the talkers and nobody listens to anyone. Eventually people try to avoid the talkers.
What Talkers Can Do To Break The Habit
Unless you are presenting a formal speech or training program, you will do well to focus on the purpose of your speaking and consider the effect it might have on others. Instead of being a talker, try being a conversationalist. You will find others to be more receptive if you remember a few simple ideas:
- Ask yourself if you are simply thinking out loud. If you are, know that your witnesses will soon start to ignore you. Find a time when you are alone to think through things and use the time with others for conversation.
- Make sure everyone participates in the conversation. If one person is monopolizing it, it is not a conversation. Reach out to those who are silent.
- Be clear what you want from your witnesses. Are you looking for feedback? Are you trying to have a dialogue and build a relationship? Do they know that?
- Ask for responses and feedback along the way – and respect any feedback you receive. If you ignore feedback, you will stop receiving it and your witnesses are more likely to stop listening.
- Speak for yourself.
- Respect other’s opinions. They have the right to their views whether or not you agree.
- Maintain civility. Respecting others will build relationships, while disrespect will break them.
Being the talker tends to isolate you. Focusing on conversation makes life much more pleasant.
What Does This Have To Do With Respect?
Talkers waste people’s time and energy. This breeds resentment and breaks relationships. People come to see talkers as self-involved and even uncaring. I know some very caring people who are talkers, but their constant talking hides their caring nature.
If you are a talker and are with someone, make sure they know you see and value them. Respect others enough to let them know you care by interacting instead of monopolizing.
If you are in the presence of a talker, you have the right to walk away if you can’t (or don’t want to) get them to interact more. Respect yourself enough to set your boundaries and take care of yourself.