Blather Control Problems

A few years ago, I worked with a woman who had what I’d call “blather control” problems.  Basically, she talked too much.  What came out was a steady, uninterruptible stream of consciousness.  It was like listening to telemarketers who call during dinner and won’t stop talking long enough to tell them you’re not interested.  You don’t want to be rude and interrupt them, but they’re being rude by not letting you get a word in edgewise.

At one point, I had an issue with something she had done.  I wanted to fix the problem and went to talk to her about it.  Well, the stream of blather started flowing and I never got a word in about why I wanted to do what I was going to do.  After a few minutes, I had to make my change or it would be too late.  So I left and went to do it anyway.  The next day, she was really angry about what I had done and complained to my boss.  I explained what happened and the boss was very supportive and understanding about what I had done.

The real thing to take away from this story is that listening skills are extremely important.  Conversations are two-way streets.  If someone comes to tell or ask you something, make sure you understand the what and the why.  Reflect the other persons words back to them by paraphrasing.  This will ensure that there’s real understanding.  You might also consider interrupting the person who’s blathering.  Waiting for a break in the stream can be difficult, but if you’re in a hurry, or simply don’t want the conversation to take an hour before you can say what you have to say, then it may be your only option.

 

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