I’ll admit that sometimes I am “The Talker”, and I’m not very good at picking up on the subtle cues that many people use to try to end a conversion.
One boss I had a great relationship with had a very simple strategy for this. (Now: he had a “my door is always open” philosophy, so he would consistently pause his work if one of his employees came to his door.) When I’d knock on his office door and asked if I could talk to him about something, he’d say “Sure, but I’ve just got a minute; I have to get back to this” [waving a hand at his computer screen, or some papers on his desk]. If it was something that was going to take more than a couple of minutes, I’d give him the overview and he would schedule a meeting. (If it was a matter that couldn’t wait, he would save his document and set it aside and make the time for me… He even delayed a meeting with his own but by a few minutes for me once.)
He was also very personable, but was disciplined about keeping to work matters fortnite meetings and taking about personal things at other times (like during the time before a meeting starts, or at the end of the day when our work was done but the day was not).
In such a simple manner, he demonstrated two things very clearly: 1) his work is important, and 2) his employees are more important to him.
The person who is “The Talker” might be an Inattentive ADHD sort of person, like me, whose thoughts just keep pinging from one topic to the next. Giving me a clear time boundary, by saying “sure, but just a minute” or by scheduling a meeting, actually helps me to keep my focus on the topic.
There are different kinds is “Talkers”.
My dad is an extrovert, a true people-person, who loves to talk. He’s much better about social cues than I am, so he’s better at moving on when the other person is done with the conversation. Unlike me, he can stay on one topic.
A different boss I had was the self-important kind of “Talker”. He would schedule a 30 minute meeting with me, tell me it would only take 20 minutes, talk 45 minutes or more, spend less than five minutes talking about what the meeting was actually about, and only let me talk for 2 minutes the whole time. He did not respect his subordinates’ time, didn’t understand our work and our how much actual time it took to get things done. I felt like a captive in his meetings if I didn’t have anything scheduled immediately after. (He’s moved on now, gone from the organization…and I think the team is more productive now, but I’ve moved on to a new team.)