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How to Stop Interruptions in Conversations

     So you're sitting in a meeting, and you begin to answer a question that has been directed toward you by your boss.  You get through about half of your response when a colleague jumps in and offers his take and essentially silences you.  There is evidence that if you are a woman, this will happen to you more often than if you are a man, and it's likely to happen to you by both genders.
     Interruptions in communications like this happen all the time whether you're in a group offering your opinion or one-on-one sharing a story.  Regardless of the setting, we all find it annoying and rude.  These disruptions of dialogue hamper thought processes, contribute to misunderstandings, and devalue people's input.  So what do we do when they keep happening to us?  A few worthy suggestions can be found in Kathryn Vasel's article,  "Next time someone interrupts you in a meeting, try this".

     But what if you're the one doing the interrupting?  I've certainly been guilty of it, and I'm worse on the phone.  Without a face in front of me, I'm not consciously considering all the needs of the other person--like the need to be heard without interference from me.  Therefore, I try hard to turn my unconscious behavior into more considerate actions and tune in to the conversation as an active participant.  There are four other things we interrupters can do to curb our habit of beginning our comments in the middle of someone else's.  We can learn to W.A.I.T.
     1) WRITE our thoughts as we listen so we can bring them up when the other person is finished.
     2) ASK questions to involve the other side in the conversation.
     3) INDICATE our interest by making eye contact when listening intently.
     4) TELL ourselves to wait until the other side has had their say.
     These actions seem simple enough, but they can be hard for people to do when they've developed bad habits of dominating conversations, thinking only of what they want to say next without mindful listening, and getting too excited about their own ideas.
     What do you do to interrupt interruptions?


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