Stop Boring People to Death During Conversations (Here's How)

Don’t you just hate it when someone is yacking your ear off to the point you’ve lost interest in both them AND the conversation? Yes, of course you do. Everyone does. So, obviously, you don’t want to be the person causing all of that… boringness. But what on earth can you do to avoid such a terrible talking disaster?


I’ve been coaching people on networking for a couple of years now and I’m always finding new, creative ways to be a better socializer. One of my absolute favorite tips I’ve learned has been the 1-minute ‘traffic light’ rule.

Here’s the breakdown of the 1-minute ‘traffic light’ rule:

Green Light: First 30 seconds of a conversation (:00-:30 seconds). Your listener is engaged and interested in what you’re saying. You have his or her full attention.

Yellow Light: Second 30 seconds of a conversation (:30-:60 seconds). Your listener is likely ready to move on or jump into the conversation. You’re close to losing his or her attention.

Red Light: Third 30 seconds of a conversation (:60-:90 seconds). Your listener is distracted and starting to tune you out. You’ve lost his or her attention.

(The only time it’s okay to “run” a red light is when your listener is still very obviously engaged with what you’re saying. Just be careful not to monopolize the conversation because they will eventually lose interest.)

So, before you find yourself staring into a glassy-eyed face during a networking event, remember the rules of the road! Try out the 1-minute ‘traffic light’ rule at Catapult Seacoast’s next event. View our upcoming networking events and social meetups here!

By Ariella Coombs