Person talking too much, annoying other man, empty speech bubble, vector cartoon stick figure or character illustration.

Maybe it’s coming out of the pandemic, a long winter, or endless Zoom sessions, but recently we’ve encountered a number of long-winded talkers. These are folks who start with “This is an interesting/funny story…” and then proceed to bore the crap out of us, focusing on topics only they are interested in.

We’re not alone. Many of you wrote after last week’s tip on President Harrison and logorrhea. No one likes compulsive talkers, even though we have to put up with them if they are our supervisors, dinner companions, or speakers at a conference.

What feeds this compulsion? It’s asserting dominance, but is also fed by social media, demanding that you blog, make videos or otherwise express yourself constantly to gain or keep followers. We are frequently told “Content is king,” so we fill space with written, videoed, or spoken words, often creating quantity over quality. Right-brain dominant folks are the worst offenders and have less impulse control, but left-brainers (e.g. engineers, scientists and techno-geeks) can also “talk the paint off a barn”, as David’s grandfather used to say.

We can avoid overtalking and improve our interactions. Put a cheat sheet next to your computer or phone which reminds you to respond with shorter answers, ask more specific questions, and let others have the floor. Thank you, Dan Lyons, for your Time article: Zip It! The Power of Saying Less.

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