Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

How to Get Someone to Pipe Down

Pipe "stickman" figure

Let’s face it. There are folks who talk too much during conversations, brainstorms, staff meetings – you name it – by making a point and then rambling on and on about it, sucking the oxygen from the room. 

Whether they do it because they are routinely talk more than others, or they need lots of attention, or they’re simply unaware of a proper balance between talking or listening, it’s annoying and needs to be curtailed. 

As manager, you may be tempted to say: 

  • “I think we’ve heard enough, Henry. Let’s move on.”
  • “Almost finished, Vanessa?”
  • “Yes, Bob, we get it. Anybody else have something to offer?” 

Responses like these are not helpful or productive. They are (potentially) embarrassing to the speaker, inconsiderate, and serve as reminders to everyone that you hold more power (and are therefore more important) than the speaker. You’re simply throwing your weight around.

There’s actually a simple way to intervene and take the conversation away from the over-talker. Just say, “Alison, may I piggyback on what you’re saying?”

Piggyback? What’s what? What does it mean?

In this context, it means “build on.” If I piggyback, I take your ideas about something, and put my fingerprints on the issue. Wait for Tim to pause when he’s going on and on, and say, “Let me piggyback on that, Tim.” Three things happen at the same instant: 

  1. Tim stops talking. (Two thumbs up!)
  2. Most likely, Tim is flattered, not frustrated. 
  3. You take control of the conversation. You can even change the subject and it will be a positive, not a negative. “Tim has offered quite a bit on how we could market this idea. I’d like to build on that and add some thoughts about the budget.”

Having doubts about this technique?

Try it for yourself. In the middle of three different conversations, whether the other person is talking too much or not, find a way to say something like this: “That’s a good (or interesting, or fascinating, or important, etc.) point, Amy. Let me piggyback on that.” See what happens. I’m betting she’ll be flattered and curious to see what you have to say next. 

Once you’ve perfected this technique, you’ll be far better able to facilitate a conversation, whether that be in a group or during a one-on-one, when someone starts going on and on and on…

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.