How to deal with someone who talks too much in meetings

You have the right to enforce your boundaries. Here’s how.

Key points

  • Some people talk a lot because they’re egotistical, but others are overwhelmed by their own feelings and push them away by talking.
  • To quiet a nonstop talker, figure out what they are trying to communicate and restate it in your own words.
  • When someone won’t stop talking, it’s acceptable to hold one’s boundaries and exit the conversation.

How to deal with someone who talks too much in meetings

One day recently, Jean,* a young professional woman, started her session with me by ranting about one of her co-workers. “The man does not stop talking,” she said. “Today he asked me how my weekend went, and before I could utter a word he started telling me about everything he had done.”

We all know someone like this man—people who talk without listening, who seem to think that what they have to say is as fascinating to everyone else as it is to them, and who don’t seem to understand that listening is an important part of communicating and connecting to others.

What makes these people tick? What can we do about them? And maybe more important, what can you do if you happen to be one of them?

Talking is part of what we humans do. “What differentiates us from animals is the fact that we can listen to other people’s dreams, fears, joys, sorrows, desires and defeats—and they, in turn, can listen to ours,” Henning Mankell, author of the Wallander mysteries, wrote recently in The New York Times.

But people who talk too much don’t seem to get this balance. Why? A number of my colleagues on PT have written about the difficulty some of us have either listening to others or to ourselves.

“Listening requires complex auditory processing,” according to Daniel P. Ellis of Columbia University. We develop the capacity to listen automatically, according to Ellis, which is one of the reasons that even a very young child will react differently to the sounds of a robin’s song and a police siren. It is also a tool in learning. Maybe this last part—that says the ability to process complex auditory signals is an important factor in our ability to learn—explains why it seems that so many people who talk at us have difficulty learning how to​ ​​​​​​relate better. This is not to say that all people who talk incessantly are not deeply connected to others. But it does seem to make it difficult for them to recognize different moods and responses in their listeners.

In the best of communication, there is a kind of give and take between talking and listening, a sharing of who is the speaker and who is the listener based on mutual respect and caring about each other’s feelings. Some people who talk a lot are not able to engage in this interactive rhythm, not because they do not care, but because they cannot tolerate the emotions that might emerge as they listen to another person. In fact, in the course of my work as a therapist, I have found that many non-stop talkers actually use their words to stop themselves from knowing what they are feeling.

This is what happened with Max,* a smart, articulate man with two young children. His wife was threatening to leave him because, she said, he did not care about or understand her. Max talked his way through two sessions, almost without taking a breath, before I was able to interrupt him and ask how he was feeling. His eyes filled with tears and his voice cracked as he replied, “I was hoping you wouldn’t ask me that. I don’t want to feel how I’m feeling. I don’t want to think about how I’m feeling. I don’t want to feel.”

I asked Max if he thought that might be part of the problem that had led his wife to ask for a divorce. He nodded and said, “I haven’t been able to let myself feel anything for a long time. She thinks it’s because I don’t feel anything. It’s really because I’m in danger of feeling too much.”

Max had hit the nail on the head. Some people talk about themselves because they genuinely think they’re more interesting than anyone else they know. But many people, like Max, are overwhelmed by their own feelings and push them away by talking. Either way, these monologues are the opposite of the kind of storytelling exchange that Mankell describes, that brings us closer to other people. And both of these kinds of talking make it hard for a person to learn to manage his or her feelings in another way.

So what can you do if you’re troubled by a co-worker, friend, or loved one who talks too much? Here are five simple suggestions that might help:

  1. First, listen—but not for too long. As you are listening, try to formulate for yourself what this person is trying to communicate: Is it a wish to be admired? A thought that they cannot get out of their head? A feeling that they cannot manage? (See my PT colleague Sophia Dembling’s terrific post about what it feels like to listen too long.)
  2. After listening for a little while and formulating what they are trying to communicate, ask them if they would mind terribly if you interrupt them. They might say, “No, no, I’m talking too much, you go ahead.” (Don’t get caught up in denying this truth out of politeness; it will just distract you both.) If they say, “Let me just finish this thought,” respond gently with something like, “Oh, I thought you had finished. Can I tell you what I heard you say?” (Of course, some people still have to say it their own way. Let them finish since you won’t have a choice; but then interrupt them as soon as they start to move to something else.)
  3. When you interrupt, be ready to say something about what you hear them saying. Don’t go for a deep psychological explanation. Something simple and to the point, but if possible, something that reflects something positive about them. Don’t be surprised if they start to talk over you—many people talk over everyone else because they are afraid of criticism. Again, say, “Wait, I’d like to finish my thought now,” and then say what you were going to say about them.
  4. Don’t stop with a comment about them. Add some experience of your own that will confirm that you understand what they’re experiencing. A memory of a similar event, a similar feeling, a funny story—anything that gives you a chance to share your own experience but that you can tie to theirs.
  5. Stop the conversation when it goes on too long. It’s really not damaging to tell someone who you’ve been listening to for more time than you have to spare (and more than you want to give away) that you’re really sorry, but you have work you have to do and you’ll have to continue this conversation later. And if they are the kind of person who comes back later to continue the conversation, just say, “No, sorry, I’m busy right now”—because, finally, you have the right to protect your own boundaries.

* Names and identifying information changed to protect privacy and confidentiality.

You might also want to take a look at my post on showing off.

It’s great when our direct reports get along. Even better if they’re swapping stories and bonding. After all, camaraderie is what makes any office fun!

Yet, as with anything, too much of a good thing can quickly go wrong.

Whether it’s an employee who talks too much, chats too loudly, or always interrupts, there is a right and wrong way to approach the issue.

How to deal with someone who talks too much in meetingsPhoto: Pixabay/ Geralt

Always Consider Context For Behaviors

There’s a healthy margin for compassion in some situations. If it’s a relatively new employee, they might be feeling the pressure to make a good impression. This anxiety can manifest differently in everyone; some get quiet before they feel safe enough to crack a joke, others feel the need to overcompensate with incessant talking.

All this to say that the constant chatter may not be a permanent state for your over-talker.

That being said, if the interrupting (or talking loudly, or gossiping) has become an established pattern, it’s time to nip it in the bud.

As a leader, you do have to create honest and consistent communication with your direct reports. This is a great opportunity to set a strong rhythm for your professional relationship.

By engaging with them on this delicate issue, you can set up a pattern where you’re always honest, fair, and supportive of their progress.

When it comes to a noisy or disruptive employee, the finesse lies in making it not seem like a big deal.

Giving Tough Feedback In 3 Easy Steps

Utilize the think B.I.G. (Behavior, Impact, Get Agreement) system, and avoid cutting corners.

First, ask for a quick moment to speak with the direct report privately.

Then, without judgment, outline their behavior in clear language. The key here is to make sure they don’t feel attacked, despite the personal nature of the feedback. To do this you have to talk about the behavior without assuming it’s a personal trait or failing.

Next, describe the impact this behavior can have on the team or company. This brings home the ripple-effect certain behaviors can have in the workplace.

And finally, get agreement on how to proceed going forward.

Sample Dialogue; Employee Talks Too Much

Here’s how you can start the dialogue:

“Tyler, I’ve noticed that you talk a lot during meetings and have long chats with your coworkers. I worry this will give the impression that you don’t care for your coworkers’ time, or for maximizing your own productivity. Is this something you’re aware of?”

By confronting the issue directly, without “sandwiching” the negative feedback with positive comments, the issue feels less like a huge problem. Now your direct report has the opportunity to discuss the issue and address the underlying behavior head-on.

The important part is to set clear expectations on how things will be going forward.

Chances are they may eventually start talking too much and interrupting again in the future. If so, that’s ok, the point is to engage with feedback regularly so that behaviors change over time. This is an ongoing process, so patience is key.

How do you handle a situation as a team manager or coach where one member of the team seems to dominate the conversation? The scenario below is based on several experiences where team members think “that person’s talking rubbish!” but don’t know how to address it. This blog shows how the Ladder of Inference can be used to deal with these difficult or complex issues productively.

How to deal with someone who talks too much in meetings

Mike, the Development Team Manager, sat in on one of his team’s retrospectives. During the meeting he noticed that one member of the team, James, was taking more turns speaking than other members of the team and often speaking for a long time about how he wanted to solve problems he saw. Mike noticed that the rest of the team had stopped talking. While James was talking the others were like ‘frozen statues’ looking at the ceiling or their shoes.

After the meeting, Mike went up to one of the team members who had leaned back in their chair so much that they were almost lying horizontal and asked “Can you tell me how useful you thought that meeting was?” The team member said “It wasn’t very good; James spent most of the time talking utter rubbish!”

Mike approached James later in the day “James, I had some observations about how you acted during that meeting that I wanted to check with you. Would you be interested in talking about this?” James said he was interested in hearing more about it.

Mike continued “I noticed that you took more turns speaking than others in the group and often spoke for longer than other people. Did you notice that or did you see it differently?” James said that he’d thought that might have been the case.

“I observed that when you were speaking others in the team weren’t looking at you. In fact one person was leaning back to the point of being horizontal and the others were often looking at the ceiling. How does that match your experience?”

James said that he was aware he might have been talking for too long, but that this was because he was trying to avoid being too “black and white” when describing his views.

Mike agreed that he had seen James be less extreme in his description of the issues in the meeting, then said “From my point of view, if people weren’t looking at you then this suggested they were probably not listening to you, so it would have been unlikely that you were communicating effectively with them. Can you understand how I’ve arrived at that view?”

“I agree, I’m just struggling to know what to do – on the one hand I can bee too extreme with my views and that stops people talking, but when I try and be less extreme I talk for too long and they also stop listening” said James.

Mike was pleased to have found out more about what James was struggling with. They talked a bit more about what lead James to experience this bind before going on to design options so that James could act more effectively in future.

“If you were in this situation again, is there some help that you could ask for from me or the team to help you recognise that you were starting to speak for too long?” asked Mike

After that they had a discussion that James would start the next retrospective describing the bind that he was in to the group and asking someone on the team to give him a visual signal, such as raising their hand, if they thought James was starting to lose people’s interest.

There are several points I wanted to highlight in this scenario:

  • The feedback from the other team member “he just talked a lot of rubbish” was a high level evaluation that couldn’t be shared publicly with James because he’d likely feel quite defensive and accused.
  • Mike started out by offering James an invitation about whether to have the conversation.
  • Mike walked up the “ladder of inference” from the bottom ‘rung’ of directly observable data, to the meaning Mike made of what he saw, and finally to the evaluation that Mike took (“It’s unlikely that you were communicating effectively when you continued to talk even when others were visibly not paying attention”).
  • Mike did this is in a way that remained curious about how James saw the world, and open to the fact that Mike may have missed other cues or come to the wrong conclusions. Mike showed this by checking for James’ view at each “rung of the ladder”
  • Mike balanced sharing his view at each rung of the ladder with asking James for his view. This style meant that Mike was able to uncover the bind that James felt in, which also provided a possible explanation of James’ behaviour.
  • Finally, Mike was able to work with James to jointly design a way to improve this situation in future.

I believe this scenario shows how adopting a curious mindset, combined with using the ladder of inference, results in more productive sharing of information which helps design more effective future actions.

I’ve seen clients who have taken these approaches to benefit from reduced time to solve problems, more productive team conversation and a better experience of working as a team.

How to effectively manage the talkative and silent members of a group.

Recognizing and understanding typical team member behaviors – both positive and negative – is helpful to understand as a facilitator. These behaviors can affect team development and performance. Members of the team may exhibit these behaviors at varying times throughout the development cycle of the team. It is crucial that the facilitator model constructive behaviors to help the team reach its goals.

Groups that work well together develop a sense of trust, camaraderie and even synergy. In such groups, communication is open and honest, everyone contributes and people are excited about what they are accomplishing. Sometimes people with “challenging behaviors” can derail the work of a group and make synergy impossible. What are “challenging behaviors?” In groups or teams that have a shared purpose and some goals to accomplish, ‘challenging behaviors’ are those that make accomplishing goals difficult. They may distract, disrupt or get the group off track in some way, or contribute to difficult behaviors by either not participating or dominating the conversation.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison offers a Facilitator toolkit called “A Guide for helping groups get results.” The kit offers a comprehensive guide to tools, methods and techniques for assisting groups. The guide explains that sometimes it will be necessary to intervene with a particular individual or an entire team because of behavior or actions during team meetings. An intervention will include any statement, question or nonverbal behavior made by a facilitator that is designed to help the group.

The goal of any type of intervention is to maintain the group’s autonomy and to develop its long-term effectiveness. Eventually, the interventions used by a facilitator should decrease the group’s dependence on the facilitator.

An intervention is never an easy task, so it is important to recognize when to intervene and whether to intervene with an individual or the entire team. There is no set time or tried and true method for when or how to intervene, but the following are methods to deal with two of the most common issues that arise in groups; those that are silent and those that overly talkative.

Silence

Most groups include some people who are timid about sharing their opinions. They may feel unvalued, unsure of themselves or unfamiliar with the topic or process. Alternatively, they may just need time to listen, think, and formulate their thoughts. This may be a problem if they never feel comfortable sharing ideas.

Strategies:

  • Use an icebreaker that involves a lot of interaction.
  • Go round-robin in the group whenever appropriate, asking each person in turn to share a comment.
  • Ask the quiet person specific questions related to his or her expertise.
  • Distribute cards in advance for written anonymous input.
  • Give the group a few minutes to think silently before asking for responses to some questions or tasks.

Talkativeness

Some people talk a lot in groups, which may be a problem if they dominate discussions and don’t let others share their opinions freely. This can sometimes cause others to drop out, thus weakening the group and diminishing its chances of success. Getting through an agenda and making decisions can also be difficult.

Strategies:

  • Establish and enforce ground rules. Some helpful rules are: keep comments brief; balance participation; listen more than you talk; or, you can speak a second time after everyone has spoken once.
  • Interrupt the talker and offer to talk to him or her more after the meeting.
  • Put a time limit on each person’s comments for each topic, and enforce it. It may help to ask someone else to be the timekeeper.
  • Ask people to raise their hands to speak.
  • Talk to the person privately and explain that you would like to get more people participating.

MSU Extension offers a three-day facilitation workshop that can help further introduce strategies of facilitation.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit https://extension.msu.edu. To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit https://extension.msu.edu/newsletters. To contact an expert in your area, visit https://extension.msu.edu/experts, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

Did you find this article useful?

I have a relatively new employee (he came on 3-4 months ago) and while his work has been great, he has a habit that’s been disruptive to the rest of the team.

He interrupts and talks a lot.

In meetings, he tends to dominate the conversation and I spend a lot of time just steering us back on point. He’s smart and funny, but there’s a time and a place to crack jokes and tell stories.

How can I tell him to not talk as much without crushing his sense of camaraderie?

Anecdote Overload

It’s great when our direct reports get along. Even better if they’re swapping stories and bonding.

Yet, as with anything, too much of a good thing can quickly go wrong.

Whether it’s an employee talking too much, chatting too loudly, or chronically interrupting, the issue surrounding the right ratio of conversation at work is a delicate balance.

There’s a healthy margin for compassion in this specific situation. It seems like this is a relatively new employee, so he’s probably still feeling the pressure to make a good impression. This manifests in different ways for different people; some get quiet before they feel safe enough to crack a joke. Others feel the need to overcompensate, which leads to chatter overload.

All this to say that this may not be a permanent issue.

That being said, as a leader you do have to establish honest and consistent communication with your direct reports. This is a great opportunity to set a strong rhythm for your professional relationship with this new hire.

By engaging with them on this (admittedly difficult) issue, you can set up a pattern where you’re always honest, fair, and looking out for them.

When it comes to an over-talker or a “loud talker,” the finesse lies in making it not seem like a big deal.

This means utilizing the think B.I.G. (Behavior, Impact, Get Agreement) system, and not cutting any corners.

First, ask for a quick moment to speak with the direct report privately. Then, without judgment, outline their behavior in clear language. The key here is to make sure they don’t feel attacked, despite the personal nature of the feedback. To do this you have to talk about the behavior without assuming it’s a personal trait or failing.

Next, describe the impact this behavior can have on the team or company. This brings home the ripple-effect certain behaviors can have in the workplace.

Finally, get agreement on how to proceed going forward.

It should sound something like this:

You: “Tyler, I’ve noticed that you talk a lot during meetings and have long chats with your coworkers. I worry that this will give the impression that you don’t care for your coworkers’ time, or for maximizing your own productivity. Is this something you’re aware of?

By confronting the issue directly, without “sandwiching” the negative feedback with positive comments, the issue feels less like a huge problem. Now your direct report has the opportunity to discuss the issue and address the underlying behavior head-on.

The important part is to also set expectations of how things will look going forward. Chances are they may eventually start talking and interrupting again in the future. If so, that’s ok, the point is to engage with feedback regularly so that behaviors change over time.

You know the feeling. You’re busy at work, trying to focus, when a co-worker distracts you with a long-winded story — one of the many anecdotes you’ll hear that day.

You nod politely and smile, praying they stop talking so you can get back to work. But they don’t take the hint.

How do you get a co-worker to quiet down without causing offense? Here’s some advice for handling this delicate, all too common scenario.

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They probably don’t realize they’re annoying you

Maybe your colleague gets anxious and talking distracts them, or perhaps they simply want to be liked by everyone. Chances are that talkative co-worker has no idea they’re distracting you.

Remember they’re not trying to irritate you, and it will be easier mentally for you to deal with them.

Set boundaries for your loud, overly talkative coworker

It’s so simple, but most of us are afraid to say we’re too busy to talk. If you’re on a deadline or concentrating on a complex task–just say so! You can then walk away or get on with your job assuming they’ve heard and understood you.

Too often we assume we’re going to hurt someone’s feelings. You won’t – there’s no social law against communicating your feelings politely.

It’s possible to be diplomatic and assertive at the same time. Don’t be afraid to repeat the message if they keep talking–and if you like your co-worker, you can always arrange an alternative time to catch up, for example over lunch.

Provide examples and be specific about how they’re excessive talking affects you

You should explain to your distracting co-worker what it is you’re working on and why you can’t talk. Interruptions cause you to lose focus, and it takes time to regain your concentration. Whether you’re working on a report or about to make a call, simply explain yourself.

How to deal with someone who talks too much in meetings

What if your talkative co-worker is your boss? Mention you’re making a call in five or ten minutes, or you’re due at a meeting.

Even better, try to ask questions by email–not only does this let you keep written records of managerial instructions, but you can keep the conversation focused.

Use your body language

Most people can intuitively pick up on another person’s waning interest. If you start fidgeting, don’t make too much eye contact and start pulling away from the conversation, your co-worker will likely get bored and end the conversation.

Tell your manager

If a talkative co-worker isn’t taking the hint, it might be best to discuss your problem with your manager. They can take steps to resolve the issue diplomatically – just be sure to try to resolve the issue with your co-worker on your own, first.

Get some privacy

The trend towards open-plan offices can make it hard to escape distractions and noise. However, phone calls, important documents, and research are all better attended to in quiet spaces.

Perhaps your office has meeting rooms, but these are often booked up. Where else can you go?

Zenbooth office phone booths​ are private, self-contained units for employees to use if they need peace and quiet to work.

If you know a co-worker likes to talk, but you need to concentrate, escaping to an isolated space before they approach can eliminate the need for any awkward conversations or excuses.

Unobtrusive, easy to assemble and compact, all offices can make room for a Zenbooth or two. Suggest the Zenbooth to your boss at your next opportunity, and watch your productivity and concentration soar.

How to deal with someone who talks too much in meetings

Ever dread getting stuck in a meeting with someone because they don’t know how to shut up?

Bluntly, it’s the bane of most groups that are trying to operate effectively–the sandbagging blowhard who either has to be the smartest person in the room, or who, more prosaically, just loves the sound of their own voice.

With people like this, my personal preference is to simply confront them with what they’re doing and ask them to stop it. We’re all adults, after all, and managing our weaknesses is a reasonable expectation of any business leader.

Sometimes, however, that’s not possible.

If you’re in that position, here are five ways to change the behaviors of an overly-loquacious team member:

1. Don’t let them get started. The easiest way to prevent a blowhard from sandbagging a meeting is, of course, not to let them get started in the first place.

You won’t be able to exclude them from the discussion altogether (nor do you want to–we’re trying to effect behavioral change here, not muzzle the individual concerned), but you can defer the point at which they pull the meeting off-track.

Call on others to begin with; use an “I’ll-get-to-you-in-a-minute” raised finger when they first try to get into the discussion; be overt: “Janet, I know you want to get in here, but we don’t have time right now.”

Remember, the goal isn’t to stifle. It’s to corral their disruptive behavior with firm boundaries, and to send clear signals regarding the behavioral change you want to see.

2. Once they start, don’t interrupt. Long-winded executives can’t be kept quiet for long. After all, talking is important to their self-esteem. So at some point the dam is gonna burst, no matter how hard you’ve been holding it back.

Once they’ve started, however, the key point is not to interrupt. At all. And so far as you can, don’t permit anyone else to interrupt them either. The reason for this is two-fold:

First, we almost always interrupt to argue against some irritating, irrelevant, esoteric point made by our blustering colleague that isn’t central to the core discussion– and bingo, the meeting is derailed.

Second, interrupting blowhards only validates (to them) their lengthy diatribes. “Hey, I’m the only one around here generating valuable discussion!” You have to let them blow themselves out by waiting, however long it takes, until they literally run out of things to say. Only by letting them stumble to a halting close (over and over agin) will they become self-aware of what they’re doing.

3. Listen with neutral reaction. Painful as it is, the single most important way to effect behavioral change in a blowhard is to maintain a completely neutral response while they’re talking. No rolling your eyes, no folding arms, glancing at your watch or multi-tasking. But no encouragement either–don’t nod, smile, or cock your head to show interest.

Instead, maintain a level, neutral expression, and hold eye (or near-eye) contact during the whole time they’re talking. Why? Because giving any emotive feedback at all prolongs their endless monologue by validating and feeding the activity. You’re engaging with the blowhard (positively or negatively), and that’s all they need as encouragement to continue.

Maintaining an expressionless, neutral expression drains engagement without confrontation, and like sucking oxygen from a fire it’ll extinguish the droning monologue much quicker.

4. Respond only to the core issue. Once they’ve run out of steam, it’s essential not to respond to everything your can’t-stop-talking colleague has said. No matter how contentious, annoying or downright wrong much of what they said may be, restrict yourself only to any comments that were (a) relevant to them topic under discussion, and (b) helpful in moving the discussion forward.

If there were no such comments (not uncommon experience with blowhards), then simply thank them for their comments and move on–again, with a neutral emotive expression.

5. Respond inversely to their contributions. As a simple rule, the longer your colleague talks, the shorter your response should be. Conversely, when they do manage to control themselves and contribute in a concise manner, you can (and should) respond in more depth, both emotionally and verbally.

A 10-minute ramble should receive little more than an emotionally neutral ‘thank-you’, while a short (for them) 2-minute contribution should be rewarded with a more expansive, emotionally positive response.

6. Don’t let them summarize. Most discussions end with a brief “round-the-table” summary. This isn’t a good point at which to open the floor again to your agenda-sandbagging colleague. Instead, pass them by, pointing out that the group has already heard their views in depth (almost certainly an understatement).

Try these simple steps next time you have a colleague who doesn’t know how to stop talking. A few iterations, and I guarantee you’ll begin to see some helpful behavior modification.

Download a free chapter from the author’s book, “The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success” which provides a comprehensive model for developing yourself or others as an exceptional, world class leader.

How to deal with someone who talks too much in meetings

At first they seem nice and extroverted. They are sociable people and good conversationalists. But over time their conversation becomes exhausting. Every meeting leaves you without energy.

The problem is that they are people who talk too much, almost always about themselves, and do not listen. When you say goodbye, you feel that there has been no conversation, that you have been the listener of an infinite monologue. What happens to people who talk a lot? Why do they behave like this?

Logorrhoea: The symptom of a mental disorder

In Psychology there is a word to describe the tendency to talk too much: Logorrhoea. In fact, it is a symptom of some basic psychological problem, usually of manic states, agitation, and anxiety.

Logorrhoea is the quantitative alteration of the flow of the language, characterized by the acceleration and proleteness of the speech and the difficulty of being interrupted. That is, people talk a lot and quickly, at an unusual pace that is very difficult to interrupt.

In many cases, Logorrhoea is caused by an acceleration of thinking. In practice, the thought goes very fast, so the speech is an expression of that speed. But unlike people who talk too much about themselves or their problems, in this case is a mental disorder.

In fact, sometimes their speech can become incongruous or we cannot follow the logical thread, which is due to the fact that their way of thinking is so fast that the persons experiences a “flight of ideas”. Lacking central ideas, their speech can be disconnected.

In these cases, it is necessary for the person to seek specialized psychological help to treat the underlying disorder.

Pure self-centeredness

People who talk too much do not always suffer from a disorder, sometimes it is simple egocentrism. When there is not an accelerated speech, and yet the person talks a lot about himself, it is likely he has a personality with narcissistic characteristics that leads him to think that is the center of the universe and that only his problems are important. For these people, it is normal that the conversation, or rather the monologue, revolves around them.

In reality, it does not even occur to them that their monologue can bore the others. These are people so absorbed in themselves to presume that everything that happens to them is of general interest. They talk a lot and do not listen, people for whom the problems of the others are not worthy of listening.

Behind those attempts to monopolize the conversation hides usually a great insecurity. People who talk too much about themselves feel good when they receive attention and others listen to them, because they interpret it as a sign of their value.

The topics of conversation preferred by these people are usually their successes and life stories, all which can make them look beautiful at the eyes of the others. So, in the background, that monologue is nothing more than need of constant self-affirmation.

In fact, often the monologue is a way to hide their inner dialogue. The person does not want to listen but wants to be heard. He wants to observe himself through the others. Nietzsche perfectly summarized it: “Talking much about oneself can also be a means to conceal oneself”.

The rosary of complaints

It is also important the content of the monologue of the people who talk too much, to understand what happens to them. While the person with narcissistic and egocentric traits usually bases his speech on his achievements, there are other people who only talk about their problems.

In these cases our problems do not go background but are literally erased from the conversation. These are people who interrupt you when you talk because your difficulties, your conflicts and problems, are not as big and important as theirs, so they believe to have the right to monopolize the conversation.

In the long run, ten minutes passed close to them end up absorbing our energies while their conversation is reduced to a series of complaints. People who only talk about their problems always find a reason to complain, they are not able to see the positive side of life.

Basically, these people, like narcissists, are deeply immersed in their ego and lack empathy, which prevents them from understanding that also the others have problems and need support, or at least deserve to be heard.

However, unlike the narcissists, these people decide to become the center of attention by taking on the role of victims. In a certain way, the stimulation of pity becomes a strategy of manipulation towards the others.

It is a rather perverse manipulation mechanism that uses words, because while with the narcissist we usually do not have problems interrupting the speech focused on his successes, with people who only talk about their problems we enter a strange game, we feel obliged to listen to them. In a sense, their problems trap us, so we feel compelled to listen to them and feel pity for them.

How to put limit to people who talk too much?

Every conversation, to be rewarding and enriching, must be bidirectional. But it is essential to differentiate people who talk too much because of a mental or neurological disorder, from those who monopolize the speech for an excess of ego.

People who suffer from Logorrhoea cannot hold their speech, no matter how hard they try. Therefore, they need psychological help. In other cases, if the person strives, he can develop a more empathetic attitude and make room for conversation with the others.

When you meet people who talk too much and do not listen, it is desirable that at a certain point you tell them directly, always politely and trying to be positive, that in a conversation it is important to talk and listen. If you feel that this relationship is seriously affecting you, absorbing your emotional energy, you’ll have to set limits and go away.