The Person Who Talks Too Much on Conference Calls

Be Quiet--Don't Say Anything
How many times have we all been on a conference call and there is someone who continues to talk about something they know nothing about? This becomes worse when we have those weekly, regular calls, when that someone who continues to annoy us who speaks too much and still says nothing.

These people are annoying to the rest of us. Those of us who are more enlightened. We all have these people who aren't as enlightened as we are, on one of our calls regular calls. To these people we want to say, "Please be quiet, don't say anything." Or worse, we want to scream, "Shut the heck up!"

Maybe you are one of "those people." Stop and think about that for a minute. What if you are? Wouldn't that be horrendous? "But I am not like her!" you might scream. "I can't be one of 'those people.' I am smart, likable, and I never talk too much. I say things that are pertinent, relevant and to the point." Do you now?

A Friend's Statement that Made Us All Look Inward
I have a friend who once said, "We are all someone else's asshole."

A few of use were griping about people. We were talking about "those people" who were jerks. We probably were going too far and then he made that statement, "We are all someone else's asshole." Ouch. This shut down the whining. We all became silent, pondering the idea that maybe we were.

Now you should think about it. We tend to see the problem as "out there." What if the problem is "in here?" My friend's comment translates to: while we think so and so is an asshole, there is someone else out there who believes the same about us.

The point here is for you and to your teammates, we can all improve.

Improvement Points--What Can You Do?
The next time you are on a conference call, instead of blurting something out, take out a notebook (I hope you have a notebook), write what you are about to say down on paper. Look at it. Does it make sense? Before blurting out and blabbering to fill the air with words, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Is this relevant? In other words, does this add to the discussion? Is what I have written down relevant to what is being discussed? Is this on topic? (And don't worry about the conversation changing to something else before you have had a chance to weigh in. You can come back to it later if it truly important or perhaps better, let it go.)
  2. Is this my area of expertise? Or are there others on the call who have much more expertise on this topic than I do? (By the way, for those of you who are shy or are too concerned that your opinion isn't important, you have the opposite problem, so don't use this point as your excuse to hide behind.)
  3. Do I truly understand the parameters of the topic? Was there a previous call that this issue came up on and I am just catching up--so I don't have entire story? Do I have all the facts, the entire story, do I understand what the objective is and who actually owns the issue?
  4. Does what I am about to say sound like advice? Am I coming across as condescending? Or worse, arrogant? 
  5. Am I about to say something obvious? Am I about to say something that someone else already said? Am I about to say something only with more words that everyone else has already stated?
  6. Sure, you are a person of worth, a person of value. But are you attempting to prove this here by saying something so that you can "feel alright"--so that you can feel superior--or feel important? 
  7. Do I understand that the more I say about everything, every single time, that it actually dilutes what I say when I do have something important to say about something I do know a lot about?
  8. If I do need to make a point--can I make it and shut up? Without feeling compelled to drone on and on and explain every aspect of what I mean?
  9. Do I understand the admonition: Better to be thought the fool, than to open my mouth and remove all doubt?
  10. Is it better for me to listen and determine who gets listened to and why?
  11. Do I use fillers to keep people from running over me or use fillers to block out others such as "umm" or "ahhhh" or "look" and saying "Does that make sense?" and going on not really wanting to hear if that does make sense.
When you become "more discerning" about what you say and how often you say something--you actually become someone who gets listened to more often. This is the opposite of what most people do. We need to follow the admonition "The less said the better." I am sure you heard that before.

Take No Action

  1. On the next con call, bring a notebook. Take notes. Write down what you want to say before the con call starts. Write down what you want to say during the call too.
  2. On the next con call make it a point to say nothing. Try retraining your brain that you do not need to say anything in order to be relevant, to be important, to be a person of worth and value. Know that you already are a person of worth and you already are relevant and you are continuing to work to stay that way.
  3. If on the next call you are asked for your opinion, as hard as this may be, say, "I can't say anything that hasn't already been said." And then shut up. Or say this, "I can't say anything that isn't a variation of what Sue and Robert stated." And then shut up.
  4. If someone asks you if you agree and you do agree, say, "I agree." And then shut up. If you don't agree, say, "I don't have the same opinion. But perhaps I don't have all the facts." And then shut up. Wait to be asked for your opinion. When you are asked for your opinion, state it and state why you have it. One sentence for your opinion, and one sentence as to why you have it. And then shut up. Use periods--and then use the silence. Silence often is more powerful than words.
  5. Use your words sparingly. Become a person like the French philosopher Henri Bergson advised, "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought."

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