Are you a Conversational Oxygen Sucker?

By Nancy Friedman, Keynote Speaker, Customer Service Expert, President, Telephone Doctor Customer Service


Ever talk with someone who gets into a conversation, sometimes by accident, and just takes over?

They suck the conversation out of the entire room. There are probably lots of other names for these folks, but either way, they’re annoying. Even if they’re usually bright, they’re still annoying by trying to take over the entire conversation when, in fact, they weren’t involved in the first place. Just barge in because they heard something they felt they knew more about than you. You often feel the need to apply an oxygen mask.

It happened to us the other day. We were talking with a young man who recently graduated from college and was now going into sales. He had asked my husband and me some very pointed questions. Good questions. Questions that had stumped him in the sales process.

We recognized this young man was eager to learn and we wanted to share what we felt would help him.

On the other side of the room was a person who heard us talk, walked over and preceded to be what we have labeled ‘a conversational oxygen sucker.’ Sad thing is, this person might have had a good idea or two, maybe more. But she didn’t ask any questions let alone interject with something like, “Sounds like a good conversation. Mind if I join in?” or something like that. Just started talking like she knew it all. Just sucked the oxygen right out of the room. In my opinion this person had low customer service skills, let alone poor sales skills.

The young man was obviously annoyed, as were we. Conversation DONE. OVER.

Don’t be a conversation oxygen sucker.


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Nancy Friedman, customer service keynote speaker, is president of Telephone Doctor Customer Service Training and a featured speaker at franchise, association, and corporate meetings around the world. A popular TV guest, she appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, CNN, FOX News, Good Morning America and CBS This Morning, as well as hundreds of other radio, television and print outlets around the world, including the Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. The author of 9 books on her chosen topics, Nancy helps corporate America improve their communications with their customers & co-workers. You can see her 9 books here. For more information, log on to Nancy Friedman's website or call (314) 291-1012. Oh yeah you can email her at Nancy is a recent recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Hall of Fame Award - St. Louis Small Business Monthly