MANAGE INTERUPTERS

Success Factors

Communication

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Staying on track and on message

People interrupting each other is a fact of life. It happens daily in every walk of life. Sometimes however it can be a bit frustrating, particularly if you are trying to get a specific point or piece of information across. The trouble with interrupters is they can change the whole conversation so you end up talking about something completely different to the thing you are there to talk about! It's like being dragged down a rabbit hole where the conversation shoots off in all directions and you wonder if you will ever get back to the topic you started with.

Well good news, there are a couple of ways to politely acknowledge the interrupter and keep the conversation on track. Always start with the person's name so they know you are directing them specifically. In a meeting, you might say [Joe] you are making a good point and we don’t want to lose it so let’s write it down and come back to it at the end once we have agreed on what to do on the subject we have on the table now.

Another option for meetings is to say right at the start ‘ we don’t have a lot of time so in order to keep to the subject and keep to time can we agree to [park] anything that comes up until another time’?

In a one to one conversation you might say [Jane] I want to give your thoughts the right focus so can we hold that point to the end and cover it then, please? The important point here is to let the person know you are not disregarding them and you take their input seriously but you are there to talk about a specific topic and you want to make sure you get that topic sorted before going onto a new topic.

So remember interruptions are part of life, if you want to keep your conversation on track, simply let the person know they have a valuable point to make and as soon as the current subject is covered they can be given the time to say their bit fully.

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