Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Give It A Rest

Yes, everyone knows about your knowledge or skill area. They know your likes and dislikes. They know what you are passionate about. They know what you are most interested in at work. They know. But they may be tired of having you interject the topic into every conversation or attempting to make yourself and your work relevant to every project or program.

There are several reasons most of us tend to bring things back to our areas of interest–sometimes to the point of being irritating.

  • It is on our minds a lot, so it’s just natural that it comes out in our conversations.
  • Because of our knowledge we may realize how the subject fits and can see the value of others being aware of it.
  • We may want to sell ourselves or our department or section so we never miss a chance to mention the importance of our work.
  • When it comes to philosophies and ideas, we may be so committed to a cause that we think others agree and want to discuss it as well.
  • We may think that just one more logical argument from us will persuade someone we know doesn’t agree with us.
  • We may be a one-tune person or employee without much else to talk about or without other areas of expertise.
  • We may incorrectly think everything revolves around us or our work.  

Whatever is the reason for you, it may be irritating to others. Listen for hints–maybe said with a joking tone–that people were just waiting for you to bring the subject around to your pet topic. Watch for smiles, rolled eyes, heavy sighs or other indicators. If it seems your comments are often met with, “Yeah, yeah, we know. Let’s move on”, consider if you are becoming very predictable in your remarks. Even if your comments are valid, once you’ve lost your listeners, communication isn’t taking place. 

Alternatives To The Same Old Song

  • If you believe your comment or expertise is really needed but others are not listening, acknowledge that you may sound repetitious but you believe it’s important. If you continue to be shut down, talk to your manager or supervisor in private about it and ask for advice.
  • Talk to someone you respect about their suggestions for how to express your thoughts in ways that don’t get remarks like, “I wondered how long it would take for you to bring it around to that.” 
  • Review your conversations and ask yourself if you simply have run that topic into the ground with everyone. If there is even a chance that you have, give it a rest.
  • Wait and see if others bring it up and ask you about it–always the best indicator of influence and acceptance.
  • Purposely measure out the number of times you mention your recurring issue or topic.
  • Purposely look for other examples, situations or illustrations. Gain expanded perspectives so you have more than one viewpoint or one experience.

Of course, when lives, ethics, big money or other serious consequence are at stake we may need to push every time to make sure the right things are done.  However, those situations nearly always involve more than a routine meeting or conversation. In most work situations we don’t need to sound like a broken record to get ourselves noticed, our work valued or our opinions expressed. If you think you do, deal with that first.

January 8th, 2011 Posted by | Life and Work, Personal and Professional Development | 12 comments