We've all experienced it. You're at a networking meeting or a social event and there's that person who dominates the conversation and can't stop talking. You wish they would direct the conversation toward you but it's like a traffic jam of words. How do you get them to stop? Their verbal barrage is a red light signalling you to stop and listen. If only they would give you the green light by taking a breath. You patiently wait but your turn never comes. It's one thing to give a speech from the platform. But conversations should be a dialogue. A person who dominates the conversation soon becomes a bore.
What gives? Is it nervousness? Sometimes excessive talking can be a symptom of nervousness. For some people, verbal diarrhea stems from a lack of social skills. They just don't know how to stop and they don't pick up on non-verbal cues. As long as you maintain eye contact, they keep talking. To get them to stop, try these three techniques:
Ask a question of someone else. Bring someone into the conversation by asking their opinion of the topic that's being discussed as a monologue. This will stop the speaker because you have just disrupted the pattern of them speaking and you listening.
Use a bridge statement. If you're in a one-to-one situation, use a statement to turn the conversation back to you. "That's an interesting point and it reminds me of when I..." "Your business is interesting and I've experienced a similar situation..." Have these bridge statements handy so that you can use them effortlessly.
Be direct. Take control and ask, "Would you like to hear about what I do?" If they don't seem interested, use technique number four.
Disengage. When you've tried to replace a monologue with a dialogue, but nothing is working, end the conversation. "It's been nice chatting. I'm going to get a refill." "My friend just walked in. It was nice to talk to you."