An acquaintance said to me, “I need to talk to Calvin about his progress on a compliance report, but I procrastinate because conversations with Calvin are lengthy.”
Another person reported, “When I attempt an in-depth discussion with Duane, I leave the meeting uncertain about whether we have understood each other.”
Do either of these examples sound familiar? Juan Siliezar, writing in the Harvard Gazette, described a study by Adam Mastroianni, a Ph.D. student in Harvard’s Psychology Department which reported only two percent of conversations ended when both parties wanted them to end.
In almost half of the cases, conversations extended longer than both parties desired. In a display of politeness, parties in two-person conversations appear to continue talking, not because they have more to say, but because they are unsure of the other’s intentions. Persons said their conversations ended too soon in only about ten percent of the cases.
Many discussions pose a dilemma. Individuals are busy and wish to communicate efficiently but prolong conversations unnecessarily.
How can you resolve this issue? Try this. When you believe you have what you need, say something like, “That sounds good to me. Are you OK with it?”