How to Tell if People Think You Talk Too Much | TechWell

How to Tell if People Think You Talk Too Much

This isn’t a rant by an introvert about extroverts. It’s true, I’m an introvert, and yes, sometimes extroverts talk incessantly. But I’ve also known introverts who talk nonstop. They’re normally very quiet, but if you happen to unknowingly push the right button, they can talk till the cows come home and leave again for the field.

I remember one such fellow. He was extremely bright, highly competent, and so quiet that most of the time you wouldn’t even know he was there. But then I asked him about his latest project. And he told me. And told me. And ...

If you talk too much, you may not realize how much you annoy people. So how can you tell? Some people talk endlessly in an attempt to please, figuring that if they talk long enough, they’re bound to hit on something relevant or important. Some people are oblivious to social cues from their listeners, such as a nod, a yawn, a peek at their watch, or a facial expression that shouts “Give it a break!”

According to one social psychologist, people who are most likely to over-talk include narcissists. Conversational narcissists may be the worst, because every conversation (meaning they talk and you listen) is about them and only them.

Some people just don’t realize how much of the conversation they’re dominating. I once coached an IT vice president who drove his staff crazy with his interminable monologues. He invited me to a meeting he had with one of his customer counterparts. Afterward, I asked him to guess how much of the time he was the one talking. He guessed 25 percent. The truth was closer to 75 percent. He was shocked at this realization.

That’s actually one of several useful ways for determining if you talk too much: After conversations with friends or colleagues, replay the conversations in your mind and gauge whether you dominated. Remember: the issue isn’t whether you talked a lot—that may be fine—but whether you talked excessively relative to the context.

If so, pay attention to your listeners’ body language—the nonverbals that say they’ve had enough. Practice listening more. On occasion, give part of the information and ask listeners if they’d like more. Even as you’re talking, ask yourself, “Am I going on too long? Giving too much detail? Crowding others out?” If so, stop. Take a deep breath. And give the other person the opportunity to talk. You’ll have another chance soon enough.

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