Their voices fill the room, irritate others and create a less professional atmosphere. Everyone looks to you, as their boss, to bring down the noise.
It’s tricky. On the one hand, you want to make loud talkers aware of their inappropriate volume. Yet if you make them feel too self-conscious, they may resent your criticism or retreat into a shell.
Here’s how to do it:
Seek solutions—together. Level with the individual about the problem. Don’t assume it’s off-limits to say, “Don, I’d like to talk with you about how loudly you speak.”
Through a friendly chat, you may learn that the employee is hearing-impaired or has struggled for years to pipe down. Then you can explore solutions in a supportive manner.
Let them judge for themselves. Tape-record a meeting so that loud talkers can hear how they drown out others. Don’t begin by saying, “Listen to how loud you are.” Instead, say, “I’d like you to listen and give me your thoughts.” Once they realize the extent of the problem, they may take steps to solve it.
Quarantine them. If loud employees seem hopelessly wedded to their booming voices, contain them in their own work space. Give them a well-insulated office or distant cubicle.