HANDLING CONVERSATION ”BLURTS"
“I'd like to avoid people who are just off in another planet,” writes Wendy. “I want to understand them but sometimes I just can't which makes me uncomfortable. They seem to be rare. But I just can't feel where they are coming from. I feel I need a personal history inventory but I'm not one to pry."
Discussing your comment will certainly resonate with many who encounter this problem or one of the others from last week’s blog list. But first, we’ll untangle your grievance with speakers who seem to be on another planet say at a family gathering or informal chit chat with a friend.
Before avoiding a person whose comments are not understandable or off the subject consider that they might be completely unaware that they are causing you and others conversation discomfort. Some people get lost with their comments and search their minds out loud to remind themselves what subject they’re pursuing. Sometimes what works is gently reminding the offender of the subject at hand. “I'm not following you at all; or "I think you’ve changed the subject”. Being kindly honest and forthright is a reliable tool in getting along.
Group Discussion Settings:
Conversation ”blurts” exist worldwide in personal encounters as well as group settings. Calling out the offender to stop their behavior is embarrassing and creates needless tension. When the wannabe speaker finally gets the floor they become confused about expressing their responses and talk up a storm. The listeners are compelled to hop on a ferry to get from exasperation to understanding. Consider Personality-type.
- Extroverts sometimes don’t know what they're thinking until they hear themselves talk or as monologist Garrison Keillor bantered, “some people talk until they think of something to say". Introverts may speak slowly but rarely just to hear themselves talk or talk aloud to decide what they want to say because they do their thinking inside their heads.
- Intuitives can get tangled up in their ideas, but again an Introverted Intuitive would probably not resort to this in a group setting. So an Extroverted Intuitive might have this tendency in a private situation or even a group setting. They usually appreciate gentle reminders of conversation flukes.
- Some Extroverts enter a study group already in session talking, completely oblivious that they are interrupting a group discussion. Or they interrupt a leader or participant before either has ended a thought. The out-of-touch one may bring up a brand new subject which really causes eyes to roll.
- One leader handled it this way: In a written note or on the board
We want everyone to be heard
1. Have your questions/comments thought out before sharing.
2. Allow the current speaker time to finish his/her comment or question.
3. Be careful not to monopolize the time.
4. Be patient with slower speakers.
5. Raise your hand to indicate you’d like to speak (if out of turn).
- If group members calmly say “Excuse me John, or whoever, but I wasn’t finished with my question or my statement, etc. If all the members would respond calmly and confidently, over a period of time, that person “should" get it. It’s the same approach that wise mothers use when they turn to their interrupting seven year old with "I’m still speaking, with my friend; I’ll talk to you when she’s finished with her sentence.” Putting up with irritating conversational behavior wins no ribbons.