Ever been in a situation where all you want to do is focus and finish your tasks but the know-it-all co-worker in the next cubicle won’t let you be? Every now and then he keeps offering you free unsolicited advice or constantly poking his nose into your business, asking irrelevant questions and trying to initiate lazy chitchats. Crazy right?
Every office has that one person who does not know when or how to draw boundaries (chatterbox). Since co-workers are a necessary part of your career and you cannot quit your job because of one nosy colleague, you need emotional intelligence to actually deal with a heavy talker without losing your cool. Of course, friendly conversations and a little chitchat here and there can make the office environment fun, warm and friendly but there is a limit to everything. Over-socialising can kill productivity!
Here are 5 smart ways to deal with this additional stress to your work life without necessarily coming off as rude or snobbish.
#1: Prepare Your Responses In Advance
If you have worked with them for a while, this attitude or actions will not come as a surprise to you. So instead of getting worked up whenever they show up, be mentally prepared to either ignore or give a rehearsed response. Rehearsing will give you time to work your responses to ensure they are not spiteful or hurtful and that you’re not caught up in the situation. Just be diplomatic.
#2: Do Not Encourage the Behaviour
Sometimes you may be tempted to engage in return just to be seen as a cool person. Doing this will only fuel their behaviour and open the floodgates. If you must respond, try to keep it as brief and polite as possible so they take a cue.
#3: Avoid Sharing Too Much Information
Do not share too much personal information or details because this will only serve as a bait and lead to further probing. Limit the amount of time you spend conversing because the longer you stay the more you will feel the need to share more personal info in return.
#4: Have a One-On-One With the Person
Ignoring or giving subtle hints may not always settle the storm and in that case, you may have to address the problem up front. Sit him or her down and have a real talk telling them how their actions affect your work. If he/she is an overly emotional or sensitive person, use excuses such as a deadline you have to meet up with or a call from your boss to wriggle yourself free.
#5: Call the Attention of the Human Resource Manager
You don’t have to be a martyr, speak up if you find such actions disturbing. Solicit the help of your HRM or you can suggest in a friendly way during a meeting, ways to make the office more comfortable and productive. Infusing some humour is a great way of lessening the tension that may arise from this.
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