It’s just obnoxious to try to get a chance to speak. You have something to contribute to the conversation, but before you get an opportunity it moves on. By the time there is an opportunity to speak it feels awkward to go that far back. For me, online gaming played a big role in getting my chance to speak.
I play online games with my gaming community using voice chat. The only way I could show that I wanted an opportunity to speak is with my voice since we can’t use body language or eye contact. So I had to get used to the verbal wrestling match it is to be heard.
The loud guys just keep the chatter going for what seems like an eternity. I had to start picking my moments to burst into the conversation myself. I know that sounds like a recipe for resentment and hurt feelings, but being aware of how I used my time speaking allowed me to play damage control to keep that from happening.
After I’ve said my peace, but before I give up my opportunity to speak, I specifically hand the conversation back to the person I bowled over, or invite another quiet person to join in. It wasn’t that the guys wanted to shut me out. They were just so involved in the conversation that they couldn’t help themselves.
Getting used to the mode of conversation came pretty quickly due to the nature of the games we play. The guys would be chatting away and then something would rear its ugly head in game that I would need to warn them about. It just took applying that process to conversations as well.
Turning the conversation back to the original speaker, or to another quite individual, makes it obvious that you’re not trying to hijack the conversation. You just want to be involved and involve the other participants. The people that care about and respect you will understand and welcome your contribution to the conversation.
The people you want to spend time with will not only tolerate injections into the conversations, but enjoy them. Don’t write people off until you see how they respond to your addition to the conversation. Just because they don’t leave openings doesn’t mean they’re trying to keep you out. If it turns out they are, then it’s time to find better conversationalists.
Can you think of a time when someone expertly maneuvered themselves into a conversation? How did they do it? What was the reaction from the other people involved? Let me know in the comments below.