Shut UP – I have work to do!

More than likely, talking is a key part of your job – allowing you to communicate essential information, collaborate more effectively and strengthen work relationships.

And most of the time, those conversations are meaningful. Effective. Welcomed.

Except when they’re not.

When an overly chatty co-worker locks you in their crosshairs, they can interrupt your train of thought. Derail your productivity. And irritate the heck out of you! 

As we mentioned in an earlier post on toxic co-workers, you’re probably not in a position to choose with whom you work – and you probably can’t tell that “Chatty Cathy” (or Carls) to shut the heck up. (Well, you could – but we don’t recommend it.)

So, what are the best ways to preempt another intolerable gabfest without being downright rude?   Today, PrideStaff shares four tips for silencing someone who would otherwise talk your ears off:

  • Throw them a bone. Understand the mindset of a chatter: they love to talk and want to connect with you. If you ignore them or put them off until later (i.e., tell them that you can’t talk right now), you’re not likely to discourage them. Sometimes, your best bet is to simply stop what you’re doing, focus on them for a moment, and make a direct, relevant comment. Acknowledge what they’ve said, without asking any questions which would invite further conversation. Then tell them that you have to get back to work.
  • Be polite, but direct. When you simply can’t be interrupted, or that chatter won’t take a hint, try one of these conversation-killers:
    • “I know you want to talk, but let’s discuss this another time.”
    • “I’m focused on this project and am just not feeling very chatty.”
    • “Please don’t think me rude, but I really need to get this finished.”
  • Set boundaries. If you come into work knowing that you won’t have time for chit chat, put your co-workers on notice. By being proactive, you may prevent a chatter from bothering you – and if not, you’ll at least be within your rights to try one of the conversation-killers above.
  • Keep your cool. Sure, they’re irritating. Yes, they are interrupting your flow. Still, you should try to maintain your composure and not take their actions personally. If you can’t physically separate yourself from them, find other ways to tune them out. Grab your earbuds and listen to music if that’s permissible, or take a five-minute walk outside on your break. Even a brief respite can improve your tolerance.

Need to get away from a Chatty Cathy or Carl? Simply looking for a better employment opportunity? Contact the PrideStaff office in your area to find out more about great local job opportunities. We’ll help ensure that you don’t just search, but succeed.