If I hate anything more than intentionally asked for, I get interrupted.
This has happened to most of us at some point. Remember, when you are working very hard in your speech. You attended the meeting, introduced your topic, showed your data. When you presented your brilliant idea, someone cut your mind to see the problem you were about to solve. It’s not always a high stakes scenario – it’s annoying when you tell an interesting story and get cut before you reach the point.
Being interrupted consistently can make people feel frustrated and really prevent them from sharing their ideas. Now everyone hates to be disturbed. But the reason I want to talk vulgarly about it because it can usually be a gender issue – multiple studies have shown that women are more likely to be disturbed than men.
So (given that booing is usually not an acceptable social response in most cases), what should you do the next time you’re disturbed?
From an early age, girls are taught to be more polite than anyone else – this is a lesson for us as adults. When we’re disturbed, we often endure frustration and just politely wait for the next call so we can go back to the previous one.
In a professional or academic environment, people who cannot speak loudly are more likely to be ignored, allowing for interruptions. Simple statements (such as “please let me finish” or “I’m not done yet”) can be heard for yourself. If you can’t stand the confrontation in this situation (such as a high-stakes meeting or a job interview), try saying “let me say it again” and continue with what you said. Do not use apology language here. Remember that you are the person here, so you don’t have to regret it!
Take back control of the conversation.
When you are interrupted, the conversation is likely to get completely out of hand, and the focus shifts to topics other people want to discuss. If you manage to speak again, you’ve gone crazy – if you’re attending an important meeting, this isn’t great, of course.
Before that, it is necessary to regain control of the session. Write down what you want to say or write it down on the phone. Before the topic becomes an unimportant topic, jump into a sentence, such as “Before I continue the discussion, I want to say a few more points and then summarize.” (Yes, it is wrong to interrupt someone, but In this case, it makes sense!) Repeat your last point before being cut off, then move on.
Set expectations in advance
Disruptions don’t always occur when the other is rude or powerless – they can also occur when expectations don’t match. The way we work has changed drastically over the past decade. The current meeting is a more collective affair, and people need to participate and discuss collectively with their own ideas.
If you will give a long speech or share your thoughts without interruption, make sure your colleagues know before you start. Having an agenda, in the beginning, can help everyone. Let people know how long the presentation will take and the main points it will cover – finally, state that you would like to resolve any issues in the past 10 minutes to close the presentation. Once your co-workers know that you have made room on the agenda to comment, they are less likely to ask questions or suddenly observe.
Have a one-on-one chat
If you find patterns that keep bothering you with a particular person, it can be more effective to have one-on-one conversations with him or her. People who are used to interrupting others don’t even realize they are doing it. Maybe they are just enthusiastic and can’t wait for you to be ready for them to respond. They may work based on certain prejudices that subconsciously belittle your opinion.
Private conversations give you a better chance to communicate honestly with them without putting them on the defensive. Let them know how their interruption makes you feel, and point out that you value their opinion. You’ll like it more if they wait for you to finish the task. If they really don’t know they’re doing this, they might be surprised and even appreciate that you brought it to their attention.