Do you know how to cutoff a colleague, client or family member that’s an overly controlling talker? You know, the one that can suck all the oxygen out of the room?

One of two things usually happens in organizations and families:

1. Someone insults the overly controlling talker to interrupt them and embarrasses everyone in the room. You can tell when this occurs because ‘someone had to say it’ is offered as justification afterward.

2. Everyone is quiet and disengages. The general feeling is ‘why am I here?’ if no one else has a chance to speak or another idea besides that of the controlling talker is allowed to prevail.

I suggest using a sympathetic question instead:

1. Sympathetic questions cut to the bottom line, recognizing past issues and eliminating them from discussion.

2. Sympathetic questions must sound sincere.

An example of a sympathetic question – thanks Joe, you sparked an idea, let’s take a few minutes to review where we are so we can take steps forward.

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