I have been at my company as a project manager/ analyst for around a year now. I have a colleague (Bob) of the same rank (though with much more experience, having spent considerably longer than me at this particular) with whom I'm having an issue.
We are collaborating on a project which is more tricky than usual. There is a lot more ad hoc analysis for the client than would usually be required. I am working as PM dealing with client communications, whilst Bob is focusing on analytics. As the project is more complicated than usual, there is a lot more communication needed between both myself and the client, and particularly myself and Bob.
Bob talks in great detail to me regarding the project. The content of what he's saying is sometimes pertinent (Bob is a knowledgeable guy). This in its self would not be a problem but for the following facts:
- The volume of information that I already know (and Bob knows that I already know) is huge, repetition is common in our conversations
- There is no structure to what is being said (Bob can flit between subjects instead of focusing on clarifying one thing at a time)
- Bob doesn't notice heavy hints that I need to wrap our conversation up (to the point where a discussion lasted so long after the end of the working day that I slowly started to shut down my PC, picked up my bag and walked to the door and continued to listen for some time before eventually saying 'Bob I have to go').
- Bob interrupts. Not in an agressive way, but more insistant that he has something important to say, which I find hard to overcome.
- Due to the amount of additional analysis the profit margin is smaller than usual (management is aware of this, but have made the decision to pursue the project and supply reporting to a normal standard, Bob keeps talking about this, although we are both acutely aware of the situation).
To give some context, I could have a thorough, in depth conversation about a detail of the project with a colleague in 5-10 mins, Bob would happily talk for 20+ mins about it.
Our manager is aware of the problem, but as Bob is part of the furniture, he is seen as set in his ways, and no major changes will be made by management to address this issue.
So far I have tried:
- Writing bullet points and sticking to them to structure conversation (but this is hard when bob finds something else he wants to discuss)
- Assertively saying things like "lets finish with this subject first..."
Asside for these steps, which I will continue to implement, what can I do to limit our encounters to a normal time frame?
I notice that there is another question on an employee talking, this one focuses on non profession conversations, mine are necessary, thus I feel the situations are different