Have you ever attended a business networking event and found yourself cornered by someone that talked about themselves in so much detail that you couldn’t get a word in edgewise?
Yeah, me too. It can be annoying and at times demoralizing.
Let’s face it, there are many people that believe that it is “all about them” and for whom monopolizing a conversation is standard operating procedure. They have one thing in mind, and that is to make sure that you know everything there is to know about their business with the goal of getting introductions and leads from you.
It can be very discouraging but there are some ways that the situation can be managed. Here are some suggestions that will help to minimize the pain!
Take control of the conversation
When someone else is monopolizing the conversation it is time to be proactive and take control of the situation. Listening passively will cause stress and waste an endless amount of time. Follow these simple “rules” and you will find yourself able to extricate yourself from the situation:
Move on and engage with someone else
Chances are you’ve learned just about all that you need to know about this individual and so it is time to politely disengage. Here are a few recommended things you can say when you are ready to move on:
It’s important to make it apparent that the conversation is now over and be certain to do so in a professional and persuasive way.
“Would you like me to take a minute or two to tell you about me?”
At some point in the monologue, it is perfectly acceptable to ask the individual if they would like to know about you. I’ve done this myself and it offers important insights especially when the person looks startled as if they are thinking, “why would I want to do that!” Chances are they will be compelled to say “yes” and so you have your few moments to introduce yourself and then follow the steps above to extricate yourself from what has not been a conversation but really a monologue.
The truth is that this situation can happen in other settings as well. For instance you might find yourself at a business luncheon or dinner and one of the people at your table is “holding court” much to the displeasure of everyone else. You can utilize the same tactics to steer the conversation so that other people might have a chance to speak.
If it sounds tiresome well, it is, but the situation cannot be totally avoided. When people are gathered there is always bound to be one person that thinks, “wait, isn’t it all about me.” Just be sure that you’re not that person!
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.