Q: Two of my coworkers are always having side conversations during our weekly staff meetings, which makes it tough for me to focus. Is there a nice way to shush them?
A: To silence chatty Cathys, give them a subtle hint. If you’re having difficulty concentrating, don’t be afraid to speak up. Your impulse might be to try and hush the talkers on the spot (“Shhh . . . I can’t hear!”), but that can be an annoying interruption in and of itself and could create awkwardness between you and your colleagues. A better idea: Simply say to whoever is supposed to have the floor, “I’m sorry, could you repeat that? I missed that last comment.” The side talkers will almost certainly get the message.