|Are some of your less-polite colleagues
making discussions difficult with their constant interruptions?
Have you ever tried to offer your opinion or idea only
to have your words plowed over by a boisterous associate
who thinks the only voice worth listening to is his own?
Dealing with people who interrupt is a common obstacle in
business meetings, but it's one that can be easily overcome
with a little planning and confidence. Here are a few tips
to help you get a word in edgewise.
Tell It Like It Is
There's no need to get angry when someone butts in, but let the person know
that you won't be interrupted. Don't be afraid to cut back in. You don't have
to be rude about it but try saying something like, "Excuse me Bob, but
you didn't let me finish. I'd like to add that.
" This way you'll
get your point across and the person will have a chance to realize he's cut
Many people interrupt without meaning to, so try not to take it personally.
But if the problem persists, let them know. Talking to someone about it in private
is far more professional than letting your frustrations build and risking a
scene during a meeting.
Have interruptions become an accepted part of your office culture? Chances are
that you aren't the only one who gets a little hot under the collar when you
can't get a word in edgewise. Why not talk it over with a manager or even with
a group of colleagues and try to work out a system for taking turns speaking?
You don't have to hold a conch, but allot a time limit or give mini penalties
for interruptions. Assigning a facilitator to keep meetings on track can also
be helpful. When people know they'll have an opportunity to speak they're often
less likely to interrupt.
Don't be shy, even if your boss is staring down his nose at you over a thick
pair of glasses. Be confident in what you say, speak loudly and clearly and
look around the room instead of down at your sweaty palms. There's no need to
yell, but when you're firm and speak with conviction, people will listen to
what you're saying instead of cutting you off at your first "um" or
If you find it difficult to express your ideas in front of a group or even
in a one-on-one setting, try preparing yourself before the discussion. Jot down
some ideas on a notepad and think of issues you'd like to raise in the meeting.
Having something written in front of you can refresh your memory if you forget
what you want to say when you're nervous. If your ideas are well thought out,
you'll feel more confident speaking up. Preparation will also give you a chance
to think over arguments to back your ideas should you be cut off or interrupted
Don't Invite Interruptions
Remember that other people want to be heard just as much as
you do, so don't hog the floor. People will interrupt if they
think you've gone on long enough and made your point. And
watch yourself to make sure you aren't interrupting others.
How to Deal with
Chatty Meeting Participants