Co-authored by Annie Meachem
This is the type of person who is often hugely entertaining and highly popular within the workplace, so he (or she) may seem an unlikely obstacle to your progress in implementing your strategies.
However, his (or her) problem is that he talks too much. At meetings he wants his voice to be heard and wants to be seen as the star of the show. Even if he does not have anything productive to add to the matter under discussion, he will have a lot to say about any topic. Any meeting he attends becomes a long performance, wasting your time, although it may seem that your colleagues find it enjoyable entertainment.
So how can you handle the Showman type successfully so that he cooperates with you and your goal is achieved?
This type of person lacks depth of knowledge on many subjects and has developed a protective way of distracting attention from this lack through being humorous. What you need is a technique for handling him so that he will stop showing off at meetings that you attend together in the future and also will work actively with you as a team.
During the meeting when he is taking centre stage, you need to analyse what he is saying into points and to feed back a concise summary to him. For example, you might say, “So you are saying that point one is (whatever he has said), point two is (another of his statements), and point three is (another of his statements), yes?”
He then understands that you are listening to him, taking careful note of everything he is saying. You then continue by asking him, “Can you help me understand the logical link between these three points?”
He will not be able to do this easily as a link between the three points probably does not exist. He will feel embarrassed at showing himself up in this way, and will become silent. You need to save him from his embarrassment by saying to the meeting, “I think what (Mr Showman) meant to say was …” and then follow it with some relevant points that he can then claim as indeed being his intention.
By doing this, he recognises that you have a clear understanding on the topic that he does not have, and that you have saved him from disclosing that lack of knowledge publicly. In future, he is unlikely to talk out of turn at meetings that you attend together and will listen to your contributions, feeling he is a part of your team.