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Assertiveness Interrupting Non-stop Talkers Communication

Every day, two or three employees drop into my office to talk about topics that are rarely urgent. I tell them I am busy, but they sit down. They say they only need a few minutes, but that’s rarely the case, so I fall further behind. How can I deal with these interruptions?

When employees drop by and expect you to drop whatever you are doing, you need to act more assertively. Importantly, acting assertively does not mean acting aggressively. It is not a matter of yelling at someone to “Get out!” Rather, assertive behavior is businesslike interaction in which you clearly, politely, yet firmly express your thoughts and expectations about a particular situation.

It is not enough to say that you are busy. Let the visitors know that this is not a good time to meet unless it is an emergency. If it is not, your visitors will say so, and that is a step in the right direction. The next step is to suggest a meeting time that works better for you, such as later in the day or even the next morning. With your visitor present, you should formally lock a meeting time, perhaps through your company’s online calendar if there is one.

Don’t forget the body language that can help in this type of situation, such as standing up when visitors drop in. They will be far less likely to plop into a chair if you are standing. And figuratively speaking, you should not stand for these interruptions.

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