I was wondering if anyone has encountered a verbose colleague who doesn't feel any kind of need to 'get to the point'?

I'm a lead developer working on a version of software. The lead stakeholder from the user group is one of those types who gives lengthy preambles underlining over and over again the need for a change before eventually telling me what the change is.

It verges on the ridiculous.

I'm very busy and very pressed for time, but she is a director and therefore I may have mixed results advising her on how to effectively conduct communications with me.

The other day it took me 15 minutes before I had to say "I'm just trying to get to the essence of the query" after which she said "Oh, I need the start date to appear on the form".

Does anyone have any tips?

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    In my opinion you did it right the last time. Her response shows she isn't mad or insulted. Maybe she likes to talk to you and likes to hear your opinion. – Kevin Jun 17 '14 at 7:38
  • This question is not a duplicate for two reasons: a) OP can't tell her to get to the point due her seniority b) OP can choose whether to use email instead of conversation, meetings, phone etc. – smci Nov 11 '14 at 9:18

Had a boss that had the same condition. It is horrible.

At meetings - have a clear agenda, and establish that you are in charge of the meeting to begin with. That makes it a lot easier to be firm - and polite - and steer people back to the agenda whenever they deviate.

If your not in control of the meeting, your just sometimes going to have to grind it out. Write down ideas to your work. Do other stuff during the meeting - easy if you have a lap-top and it looks like your taking notes or similiar.

Hallway-meetings - Say your busy, have them drop a email with what they want.

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Clear your throat as if to Interrupt her and ask her gently "Tell me what you want done". Then ask briskly "Is there anything else you want from us?" before you thank her, do a 180 and return to your desk.

Basically, I just advised you to hijack the control of the meeting, drive it hard enough and just long enough to get the info that you need and close it briskly - hey, somebody's got to do it :) You want to be casual and sharp :)

It's OK to be a little uncouth with your management - you are a software engineer, and a team lead to boot :)

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