December 2, 2011

when your coworker never stops talking

Have you ever shared an office with someone who loves talking... about his/her personal life... ALL THE TIME!? I'm sure there are a few experts on the topic nodding their heads right now.

So what do you do when you have a chatty colleague (let's call her Cindy!) who struggles to A) keep her personal life personal, and B) stop talking long enough to actually do her work? I haven't had to deal with this personally, so I've looked around and found some radical ideas on how to handle this phenomenon:
  • Wear headphones all day - not ideal if you do need to talk with colleagues now and then and want to build relationships with your team.
  • Have your desk phone on speed dial on your cell phone - if whoever stops by to talk is taking too much of my time, discretely call your desk phone and go through the answer routine to your imaginary caller.
  • Explain that you're the type who can work and listen at the same time, so that they shouldn't be offended if you work while they talk.
All jokes aside, the best steps to follow when your chatty friend starts again, are something along the following lines:
  1. “Gee Cindy, I have so much to do right now. I’d love to chat but I’ve got to focus in order to get this done today…Why don’t we chat over lunch?”
  2. "Cindy, it's not that I'm not interested, but I’m really busy right now. I’ve got to get this done.”
  3. "Cindy, I can’t really afford to spend time at work talking about personal stuff. If I do, I fall behind and slip up on my performance. If you don’t mind, I’m going to have to stick to work. I don’t mean to be insensitive but I’ve got a lot to do.”
  4. Ignore her questions or comments by not responding (not ideal so try avoiding this step all together if possible).
  5. If this is affecting your ability to do your work, you need to avoid staying in the ignoring phase too long and talk to your supervisor.

I found these posts on avoiding the chatterazzi and how to discourage chatty co-workers - enjoy! Feel free to leave a comment if you have found some tried and tested ways of handling a chatty colleague!

* If your name is Cindy - thanks for reading my blog and please know that I was not referring to an actual person when writing this post ☺

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