Winning with Coworkers #44: The Loud Coworker


We’ve all met people who seem to always speak loudly and forget that they are still using their outside voice. For the most part it’s not an issue, but what do you do when it’s a coworker? You don’t want to be rude to them of course. After all, they’re not saying anything inappropriate, they’re just… well… loud. What do you do?

It’s probably a good bet that this individual knows that he (she) speaks loudly. He’s been told by friends for years. So it will come as no surprise to them when you bring it to their attention. The trick is to do it in such a way that minimizes his embarrassment and doesn’t damage your relationship. The best strategy is to approach it as though it were you with the issue and not them.

Pick a time right after there’s been an incident where his loud talking caused a disruption – perhaps when you’ve been on the phone. You can say something like this:

“Hey Fred, I was wondering if you could do me favor? I’m finding that the sound really bounces around here, and sometimes when I’m on the phone it can be a little hard to concentrate when there’s a lot of other noise or talking going on. I know its just me, but can I trouble you, just when I’m on the phone, to maybe talk just a little quieter?”

Again, It’s likely that Fred already knows he speaks loudly, but it will soften the impact of your request a little when you’re the one doing the apologizing. It’s a touchy subject, but if you deal with it right the first time, you can prevent a lot of potential future conflict.

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