An individual supplies excessive detail or is over talkative and dominating the session.
- Individuals who can’t limit how much they talk.
- People who provide a level of detail that isn’t needed or appropriate to the situation.
- Group members who are oblivious to what others want to hear.
What’s really going on
- Some people have an inflated sense of their own importance.
- Some people simply love to hear themselves talk.
- Dysfunctional talkers are often oblivious to what others need to hear.
- Over-talking may be a ploy to get attention or to gain control.
- Some people are simply insensitive to the needs or behaviours of others.
- Not checking with the rest of the group to determine what they need to hear.
- Failing to establish guidelines for presentations.
- Standing by and allowing over-talkers to continue past pre-set time limits.
- Using overly harsh or judgemental language when intervening.
- Coming across as unsure when asking over-talkers to curtail their comments.
- Help the group set clear time limits for each presentation.
- Appoint one of the group members to act as timekeeper and periodically call out milestones.
- Help the group establish guidelines for each presentation:
‘Before the presentations begin, let’s talk about the level of detail people need and some of the specific questions you want to have answered.’
- Ask the group to establish a targeted norm/ground rule at the start of any meeting where you suspect over-talking might occur:
‘We’ve got a really tight agenda today. What commitments do we each need to make to honour our time-frames?’
- Help over-talkers correct themselves by offering them specific feedback:
‘You’ve been giving us a lot of implementation details rather than offering an overview of project goals. Please refocus your presentation to be in line with the guidelines we set earlier.’
- If the over-talker shows no sign of self-control, stop him or her and check with the rest of the group:
‘I’m going to stop you and check with the rest of the group to make sure this is the right time to hear more of your report.’
- Firmly point out that the group members are violating their time limits, and clearly state what you want them to do:
‘You’re now five minutes over your allotted time. I'm concerned others won’t get a chance to present. Please wrap up.’
- If none of the above interventions has an impact, take over-talkers aside and give them feedback in a way that encourages them to take responsibility for their actions in future meetings:
‘At today’s meeting, you ran over by 20 minutes, even though I asked you to end your presentation twice. This threw the meeting seriously off schedule. I need a commitment from you to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future.’