Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The LONG Talker



How do you politely tell someone that they are F-ING driving you nuts? I guess you could consider this a rant, but really it's a plea for help because I seem to get caught in this situation ALL. THE. TIME.

Here's the straight poop: I had a meeting yesterday with a gentleman that is considered an expert in his industry, to help me complete a project that will hopefully set me on the path to future, gainful, self-employment. He and I hit it off immediately. Since the project I am working on is extremely creative and visual, I was more than pleased that at least three of his ideas were ideas that I also had, and was able to back this fact up with physical proof and action.

Needless to say, we were in sync and hitting a creative groove. The problem was getting any rhythm to this groove because he would interrupt his thoughts by sharing a personal story, that was not only long winded, but time consuming and exhausting, thereby throwing us off the creative point at issue. A meeting (that I am paying for) that should have taken an hour and a half at best, turned into a three and a half hour torture session with The LONG Talker.

In his defense, I think he liked me, (as a potential client) and was motivated by the fact that my idea is somewhat exciting and shows potential. Couple that with the fact that we both were sharing a vision, and he possibly felt a kindred connection of some kind with me, hence the LONG talk. I, too, felt the kindred, professional connection, and was motivated by the fact that I am moving in a positive direction, but The LONG Talk just about killed me.

As I stated, I have been in this situation before, but not on my dime. As a make-up artist working in the industry for the past few years, I always came across The LONG Talkers who sat in my chair. I am like the flame to their moth. I can liken the job to that of a bartender, when you strip people of their make-up, their "defense" against the world, all the barriers fall and their vulnerabilities take the shape of conversation and people start sharing personal stuff that you would not believe. This is by no means a complaint, but a simple fact that I would say goes along with the territory.

I just don't know how or when to cut the LONG'ies off politely. In the make-up chair, it can be tricky because it consumes time, thereby taking me off the floor for the next potential client, but necessary for this client, so to ensure that I have done my job correctly. The LONG Talk somehow always manages to fuck things up. We have a code term for LONG talkers, we say, I had a "life sucker", meaning that client literally sucked the life out of me, because that's what happens. That's exactly what happened yesterday. I walked away feeling physically depleted and uncertain of anything we had just discussed.

In my personal life, I am nice to a fault, and since things are now on my financial terms, I need to learn to strategize my dealings with this man, whom I respect and like, so that the positive, creative life is not sucked right out of me. It looks good on paper, but put me in the situation, and I find myself stuck engaging in LONG talk that deems my professional goal somewhat futile. I have to find the happy medium between the LONG and SHORT of it and somehow keep SHORT the LONG talk.

15 comments:

Scope said...

Agenda and a "hard stop" time. Another appointment 30 minutes after the proposed end time should work nicely.

Maybe with a statement that you find him interesting and would love for you and your guy to meet up with him and his S.O. for drinks some evening. That last little bit may be hard to play, though.

Scope said...

Oh, duh, and congrats on getting this ball rolling. Sounds fun and exciting.

The Dental Maven said...

Hooo boy. As you might imagine, this happens at the dental appointment too. AND, I typically have another patient scheduled right after the LongTalker. Whereas I always feel rude when I do it, I've gotten much better at the re-direct over the years.

Good-luck with your new venture, Girl!!

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

We have this consultant who comes in from time to time and--despite the fact that we have a molecule nearly ready to go into people--he doesn't shut the hell up about anything. It's annoying as hell. I feel your pain.

Dawn@Embracing the Ordinary Life said...

I sooo feel your pain. I get stuck with those same kind of people...then I hide from other poeple cause I'm afraid, and when I come back out...same crap.

Cora said...

First of all congratulations on the project, Candy! I didn't know you were a make-up artist ~ cooOOooOOool stuff!!

As for long talkers, yup, I know a few too. I call them Energy Vampires. They can turn a should-be short tale of dropping their keys in a puddle into an epic two hour long story which mentions every single one of their 200 coworkers and people they knew when they were kids and all these itty bitty little details that are completely off the point anyway. Grrrrr. And I sit there going "uh-huh... uh-huh... uh-huh..." praying for the story to end so I can make a hasty escape.

I feel your pain. I have no advice though - unless your ex-husband is a long talker, then I find that saying "oh shut the hell up for once" kinda seems to make an impact. At least temporarily. ;-)

Dr Zibbs said...

When you find and answer - let me know.

SkylersDad said...

I have no answer because it happens to me also, but I wanted to say congrats on the new project!

Lestat de Lioncourt said...

Well, for one thing, if you were ugly, that might help. He is being a guy and he has one thing on his mind, and as guys we love it if we are able to hide that in a backhanded complimenting kind of way.

Chris@Maugeritaville said...

Don't kid yourself, he wants to nail you.

That said, I like the "hard stop time" idea that Scope mentioned. Let him know up front that the meeting has to be over by 2:30 (or whenever).

Soda and Candy said...

I cannot stand long talkers, but then I get into trouble if I'm too abrupt with people because they like to be coddled here. Crapping on about your personal life is actually an intrinsic part of business relationships in the South, apparently.

Mr. Condescending said...

oh I hate long talkers! I am a short talker hah.

Chaka said...

I was just thinking about this today. Yesterday I met a guy who kept saying "20 second story" to preface his five minute remarks. After about 25 minutes of his "20 second" stories I was getting ready to fake a seizure.

Madtexter said...

I have a sure-fire way of cutting people off - depending on their gender. If you're talking to a man and he annoys you, once in a while glance up at his receding hairline. It will make him feel uncomfortable and throw him off point and cause speechlessness.

If they're a woman, stare off to the side as if pondering their advice. They'll immediately think that you're questioning their judgement and they'll shut down.

It sounds a bit sexist to say, but it always works for me. I just can't stand people who like to hear themselves talk and cannot stay focused on the conversation at hand.

Scott Oglesby said...

I work in advertising and have to deal with this all the time. So, I would just be completely honest and tell him that when you are in ‘creative mode’ you need to stay on point. As Scope suggested earlier; you could then offer to meet over drinks to socialize. But, clearly emphasize that when it is work time, you need to be working!