Feedback Unscripted 9 of 9
In honor of our Learning Cycle Topic of Giving Effective Feedback, my friend and colleague, Angela Fucci, agreed to spend some time on zoom with me role-playing “good” and “bad” attempts at handling a variety of common feedback situations. We laughed, stumbling through some of the awkward conversations, and then discussed our key take-aways.
Getting Someone to the Point
Do you have anyone in your life who you want to connect more with, but you tend to avoid because they ramble on and on once they have your ear, and you know every conversation will go on much longer than you have time for? Sometimes it’s your job in a meeting to facilitate and cut off a rambler to keep things on track, and it can be hard to even find a place to break in and interrupt.
Here are some tips on how to deal with someone who tends to ramble:
DOS AND DON’TS
1. DO step in, especially if you are the manager. Not jumping in, especially if this is happening in a meeting, will disengage the whole team. Even in a mentoring session, a rambling client can keep you from your next meeting or other important work. There are plenty of ways to step in kindly.
2. DON’T accuse them of dominating the meeting or wait until you are exasperated and cut them off angrily. Just find a way to jump in and redirect the conversation. If you can do it in a way that allows the person to save face, all the better.
3. REMEMBER that people who ramble have temporarily gotten so absorbed by their thoughts or story that they have lost track of time and the people around them. While this isn’t intentional, it’s unlikely that they’ll notice any subtle body language or signals. You’ll have to interrupt them and redirect. The best way to do this is wait for them to take a breath and say something like:
“Steve, can I interrupt for just a minute? What you’re saying is important, but I think it deserves diving into at another time. We’ve got about 10 minutes left, and I want to make sure we leave this meeting having heard all the issues so we can make a decision. If you’d like to get together one on one a bit later, we can talk through this more in depth.”
This approach acknowledges that what is said is important. It opens up a place to dive into the issue and give it all the attention it deserves. This is usually enough to allow someone to get back to the point without feeling overly embarrassed.
In the video below, Angela and I role play a situation and practice jumping in to redirect someone we are mentoring. We compare a “bad” version to a “better” version and then summarize our key take aways. The video runs approximately 4 minutes. Enjoy!