Do You Talk About Yourself Too Much at Work?

Some people start out just wanting to share quality information, and so others listen to them in order to learn and reap the benefit of the experience and knowledge.

Unfortunately, many of these same people become addicted to the attention paid to them, and they gradually become narcissistic.  Their advice becomes less about situations that apply to the audience in general, and more about, well, them. Their conversations become a string of “I think X, I feel Y, and I do Z.”

I see this primarily in workplaces and online, but it’s rampant in social situations as well.  Let’s say you’re at a party.  If you’re a good listener, and you know how to ask relevant questions in order to show interest in other people, you will inevitably be stuck talking to someone who is more than happy to go on and on about herself.  She may invite you to respond to a remark, only to instantly turn the conversation back to herself.

Effective communication is absolutely one of the most underrated and critical skills in business today.  And you can’t be a good communicator unless you are constantly thinking about how what you’re saying is perceived by others.  Now, while some people won’t find self-absorbed colleagues all that annoying, others will be driven up the wall and may actually go out of their way to avoid working with them.

Here are a few suggestions to keep from monopolizing conversations:

Every time someone asks you a question, ask one in return.

Then listen to the answer, and ask a follow up.  For example:  “Do you have kids too?  How old are they?”  If the person is giving you one-word answers, probe a bit to see if you can get them to open up.

When conversing one-on-one, don’t speak longer than a minute without a break.

Even if you’re relating a long story, stop and ask for feedback or encourage the other person to interject a thought.

Monitor your own contributions.

If you know you have the tendency to talk about yourself a lot, choose a conversation in which you pay careful attention to the number of times you spontaneously bring up your own experiences or opinions.  Take notes immediately following the conversation so that you can be as accurate as possible.

If you write, don’t always default to your own experiences.

Remember that others don’t care what you did yesterday, they want to know what they should do tomorrow.  If you want to include a case study or anecdote, select someone else’s story to prove your point.  Similarly, make sure that the opinions you present are routinely backed up by facts.

Self-absorption can sneak up on a person, and the best way to fight it is awareness.  By recognizing that you’re focused too much on yourself, you can actively take steps to make sure you’re protecting your work relationships.

Alexandra Levit

Alexandra Levit’s goal is to help people find meaningful jobs - quickly and simply - and to succeed beyond measure once they get there. Follow her @alevit.

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  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    This strategy is suitable for the all at this time when using the social media more for the marketing and for them also who choose customer as the central point for their success. Listen and then answer is the key point to avoid the failure. But whatever speak , be sure for their usefulness to other person. Anyway thanks for sharing such points with us.

    [Reply]

  • Malfieri

    My family runs the company where I am currently employed, so it is very difficult to distinguish the fine line between my personal and professional lives. I have a tendency to blend the two, which leads to my communicating more information about myself, my company, etc, Thank you for the helpful communication tips!

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    Anonymous Reply:

    @Maria, I see how this would be difficult, and I think that in general, you and your family members might want to discuss and agree upon what matters should be reserved for outside the office.  This may assist with productivity as well.

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