Do You Talk Too Much?

At work, do people tend to look away when you walk by because they're afraid you'll bend their ear?

Think of someone who's long-winded (we all know such people). Chances are you also think of him or her as boring and self-absorbed. But is it possible people think you are a long-windedBenny Blowhard or Chatty Cathy? The more questions to which you answer yes, the more concerned you should be.

First, the problem. Do your pronouncements routinely exceed one minute? Do you wander off on tangents rather than staying on topic? Do your listeners often show signs of lack of interest, such as fidgeting, looking away, interrupting you or frequently saying "uh-huh" to push you to get on with it? Yes, some people are poor listeners by nature. But if you observe a lack of interest among more than a fourth of the people you converse with, the problem is more likely you.

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Marty Nemko
Contributing Columnist, Kiplinger.com