Help! I’m Blathering and I Can’t Stop!

By Clyde C. Lowstuter

Businessman Mr. Bigshot 15943885Have you ever been in a meeting where someone always has a comment about everything, continually dominating the conversation?  At R|L we call this behavior “clueless of unintended impact.”  It happens to all of us. It is easy to spot this unwanted behavior in others, but it’s not always readily recognizable in ourselves.  After all, there are times when we are the expert on the topic and others should listen to us. Right?

Well, yes and no.  The impact on an audience depends on whether the speaker is other-centric or self-centric.  When one drifts from providing useful information in a helpful way to a never-ending data dump, the person is probably unaware of the unintended impact s/he has on others. The talker is too busy blathering to realize s/he has lost the attention of others and any further information provided in the meeting feels like self-indulgence.  As you have no doubt experienced firsthand, this is an awkward moment to witness such self-sabotaging behavior that is potentially career derailing.  Unfortunately, the receptivity in the room can quickly shift from interest to boredom and disdain.

The key to connecting with others is to pay close attention to others’ reactions while you talk. To keep your audience interested and involved, be highly interactive. As you provide value, pepper your talk with penetrating questions that make participants think more deeply about an issue.  Create a safe and courageous environment that promotes stimulating conversations.

This week live consciously.  Pay close attention to the intended and unintended impact you have on others. Be uber-cognizant of doing the right things for the right reasons. If you’re not, why not?

If you notice yourself expounding ad nauseam, ask yourself, “What is my underlying motivation and what am I trying to accomplish or prove?”  These underlying questions will greatly enhance your self-awareness, leadership, and interpersonal capacities.


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