They dole out their views without invitation or evidence. They like their take on things so much they forget to check whether it’s relevant to the room they are in. They show up ill-prepared, EVERY TIME. Winging it. Making stuff up as they go. “Talking talking talking…”
I find myself thinking, “But…! You’re talking so casually about things that actually matter to us.” “You’ve only got a partial / theoretical view on this. That’s not enough!” “Why don’t you take the time to listen to other perspectives?” “Why don’t we see what other smarter folks have already discovered on this subject?” “Why can’t you stop talking?”
There must be some things that can be done (to avoid the anger – which ultimately just makes you look like the idiot).
What can be done about it!
Here are some things that could be deployed next time you (or I) find yourself being TALKED AT by an extravert.
Show up prepared
• Bring some relevant work along. People do gravitate to substance. Make sure there is some in the room. This could be a prototype or a model of some sort. (See: http://metacool.com/never-attend-a-meeting-without-a-prototype/)
• Encourage folks to use the word “review”, rather than the word “meeting” (https://productsofdesign.sva.edu/blog/nomeeting)
• Share docs and agendas ahead of time – to help folks to gather their thoughts.
Ask a question
• “Isn’t there a great book / talk / article on this already – we should read / watch that!” (Rather than listen to you bang on about it)
• “What did the research say on this?”
• “Is this the only / best / most helpful way to think about this? – are there other perspectives we could add?”
• “How do we get other / inclusive / diverse needs considered too?”
• “Can we agree the agenda in advance for the next session? … to make sure we use the time well?” (And show up prepared)
What if they’re more important / powerful than you?
• Ask nicely!
• Frame the question in terms of the interests of the organisation / project
• Call in evidence to support your questions / ideas
• Stay upbeat (and keep fighting the good fight – with a smile!)