Managing Drop-In Visitors Assertively And Effectively

Managing Drop-In Visitors Assertively And Effectively

Do you find that your best time management efforts in the workplace are thwarted by those pesky drop-in visitors who just have “a quick question”? Unfortunately, their definition of “quick” often doesn’t match yours! Here are three ways to proactively and assertively manage these unanticipated and distracting guests.

  1. Think ahead – take control of your guest chair! Either move it out of your workspace, and bring it back only if you when you want someone to sit and discuss something with you, or if that’s not practical, try putting a pile of books (or other suitable objects) on it.
  2. Stand up when they come to you, and say “I have five (or however many) minutes, how can I help you”? Stay standing during the entire conversation.
  3. If the first two tips don’t work, try the well-tested “elbow technique”. Gently put your hand under the person’s elbow, and while talking to him or her, casually walk him back to his desk. While this may sound extreme to some of you, don’t discount this technique unless you try it! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by its effectiveness.

Remember that these practical tips work because they follow the fundamental rules of assertive communication – they are inherently respectful and proactive!

Originally published at

Merge Gupta-Sunderji helps turn managers into leaders. Through engaging keynotes and facilitated workshops, she gives people specific and practical tools to achieve leadership and communication success. Contact her at or 403-605-4756

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    March 31, 2018, 12:26 pm

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