We’ve all been there —you are in a conversation and you can’t get a word in edgewise. Your conversation partner just keeps talking nonstop and you are not quite sure what to do. Maybe you want to escape the exchange altogether or maybe you have an urgent point you must make, but how do you get them to listen?
Even though you want to be heard, you need to listen to what is driving your conversation partner to talk incessantly. Are they passionate about the topic? Is it a nervous chatter? Are they simply talking to sound important? Are they striving to be the center of attention? Listening for what is driving their excessive talking will help you figure out how, when or even if you should interject to make your point.
Give the talker the opportunity to keep talking by asking a question. Your question will hopefully steer the conversation in the direction you want to go. It could also open up a new way of looking at an issue, challenge a commonly held belief or introduce new information.
Capturing the attention of someone means that they must be in the frame of mind to actually listen. There are instances where it’s best to table your point. Wait for another opportunity when that person is fully present so you both can have a valuable exchange and not just a one-sided conversation. As disappointing as that prospect might be, remember you want their full attention and this might not be the most optimal time.
Speak slowly and clearly
When you do have the opportunity to take the floor, it’s imperative that your points are well thought out and concise. Speak slowly and clearly as it commands the attention of others. Often times, people feel pressured to make their point and increase their rate of speaking which makes it difficult to follow and easier to be dismissed.