Can you imagine if the waiter just dumped a bunch of food in front of you and expected you to eat (and pay for) whatever he brought to your table?
You: "Um, excuse me...I'm allergic to shellfish and you brought me clams, mussels and scallops!"
Waiter: "That's what I'm giving you today! That will be $25.99 plus tax, please. Have a nice day."
Let me ask you another question: Have you ever worked with someone who just seemed to talk to you, whether you wanted her to or not? You know the person who seemed to ignore the fact that you have 10 files on your desk, multiple windows open on your computer, the voice mail light flashing on your phone and a "to-do" list a mile long.
Here's another question . . . have you ever been that person? Are you that person right now?
I used to have someone that I worked with who always seemed to corner me at the wrong time. She would go on and on and on about her weekend, the idiot boyfriend, her family, the dog, and, well, you get the picture! I liked her to begin with, but overtime I started trying to avoid her just so I wouldn't get sucked in to another long conversation.
Just like the waiter story at the beginning of this post, consider thinking of the conversation process with your co-workers as a lot like ordering food in a restaurant.
Let your co-workers view the "menu," consider the specials and then see what they're in the mood for. If it's a five course meal, take the time and enjoy it with them. If they only have time (or want time) for appetizers and a drink, don't go ordering soup, salad, breadsticks, appetizers, and dessert. If they just want something from the "to go" menu, don't try to convince them to have a sit down meal!
You see where I'm going with this? A smart waiter waits for the diner to choose from the menu before bringing the food out! A smart team member does the same. (Trust me, your co-workers will thank you!)
How have you handled co-workers that didn't let you "order your food?"