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How to Deal with a Loud Co-Worker

Does someone at work not have an indoor voice? Before you stuff a sock in her mouth, try this.


  • Step 1: Mention the problem When you two are alone, gently mention the problem and its effect on you. For example, 'I don’t think you realize how loudly you speak; it sometimes makes me lose count when I’m checking inventory.'
  • Step 2: Enlist others Ask other colleagues who share your annoyance to politely complain, too. There is strength in numbers, and you won’t look like a lone nutcase.
  • Step 3: Shame the loudmouth Try shaming the loudmouth into straightening out. Start wearing earplugs, and place a large decorative bowl of them on your desk with the sign, 'Warning: Loud Employee in Vicinity. Help Yourself.'
  • Step 4: Play music Bring in a radio and tune it to whatever music Loudmouth detests. Turn up the volume and pretend you can’t hear Loudmouth’s pleas.
  • Step 5: Fake legal action When Loudmouth is having a rare quiet moment, fake a call to the Bureau of Labor—speak just loudly enough so Loudmouth overhears the phrases 'can’t hear myself think,' 'take legal action,' and 'hostile work environment.'
  • TIP: To maximize the impact of your call, have a friend play spokesperson for the Bureau of Labor, and put the call on speakerphone.
  • Step 6: Move your workspace Respectfully request to move your workspace far away from Loudmouth. When your manager or human resources representative realizes that this person is hampering office productivity, they will step in.
  • FACT: In one survey, 32% of respondents named a loud coworker as their number one office complaint, followed by annoying ring tones and use of speakerphones.

You Will Need

  • A Loud Coworker
  • Earplugs
  • Radio

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