These 20+ conversation tips let you talk without interruption!

Some people are interrupted more often than others while talking. Reduce the likelihood to be interrupted.

Reduce the likelihood to be interrupted

 

What kind of people don’t let you finish your talk? In a good conversation everyone has his part. Everyone can talk and let the other talk. But why are some people interrupted so often and what can be done about it? Here are some tips to reduce the likelihood to be interrupted while you speak.

Speaking without being interrupted

 

In a good conversation, each participant can talk till he finished his speech. Each participant is allowed to talk and lets the others talk. Every relevant contribution deserves to be heard. Interrupting other people’s speeches is not very polite. And yet it happens so often.
 Admittedly, in the heat of the moment it is not always easy to hold back. The body chemistry interferes with the good education of childhood.

Some people interrupt others and some people are interrupted more often. What kind of people don’t let you finish? The reasons for interrupting may be bad manners, feelings of superiority, social and communicative deficits. 
Many people have never learned to be good listeners. But why are some people interrupted so often? In this article you will learn how to make excuses.

In this article you will find recommendations so that you will not be interrupted while talking.

 

 

 

What to do?

 

Not everyone succeeds in finishing their sentences equally well. We live in a culture where interrupting is common and commonly tolerated. Being interrupted is frustrating for most people, but if you are a shy, soft-spoken, or introvert person, it can make it especially difficult to communicate. Because of this, speakers are developing different strategies to prevent it.

Many do not take a break from talking because they are afraid of not reaching the essential point.
 That does not make them more relaxed, but breathless.
 To counteract this many keep their voice at the end of the sentence above and avoid pauses. In this way no starting point and little space for an interruption should be provided. However, the good intention also has disadvantages.
 Those who therefore constantly stay at the end of the movement with the voice at the top, make long movements and avoid pauses do not appear sovereign but fearful. Statements then sound more like questions. All this damages the impression we make on other people.

Some people, despite attempts at interruption, can persevere, prove their assertiveness and better nerves. 
Even if this procedure sometimes works, it has its limits. 
It doesn’t appear very sympathetic and real conversations are made more difficult. You better address the behavior and clarify the rules for further communication.

 

 

 

20 tips how to speak without being interrupted

 

 

Reduce the likelihood to be interrupted

 

You do not have to accept to be interrupted while you speak. Finally, professional communication should be possible. The following recommendations can help you to defend yourself confidently against an interruption of a conversation or even to prevent it altogether.

 

 

1. Prevention is better than aftercare

 

Prevent interruptions in advance through your entire appearance and behavior. A sovereign appearance reduces the probability of attacks. Make it clear that you can not be diverted from the path. Do not make it so easy for opponents. If you are more likely to be distracted, the likelihood of further interruptions increases. So always keep the big picture in mind!

 

 

 

2. Have something relevant to say

 

Someone with the reputation to waste time in meetings will be interrupted more often. Therefore, it is better to say nothing than say something that is not particularly relevant. In such a case there is a high chance that you will be publicly interrupted. On the other hand, when having the reputation to deliver relevant contributions, you have the full attention.

 

 

 

3. Make it easier to the listeners

 

Some people have something to contribute, but they cannot present it in such a way that it is immediately understood. Make it easier for the audience to enjoy listening to you and your message. Get your message across to the people. Focus on clear and convincing communication. This includes a clear speech structure, even for short speeches. Support your message verbally and non-verbally. The physical act of gesturing helps you form clearer thoughts and speak in tighter sentences with more declarative language.

 

 

 

4. Fighting for the status of the top dog

 

Interrupting is a way to demonstrate power in interpersonal situations. Cutting in while someone else is speaking can be a way of asserting dominance over someone. It is like fighting for the status of the top dog. The spectacle may be funny to watch for the audience, but is usually not good for your reputation. Accordingly, it is better to distance yourself from such nonsense without having disadvantages. Show teeth and smile!

If you get into a power struggle, where the other person is using a power interrupt, then it may be time to exercise your power, for example by using one of the other techniques on this page.

 

 

 

5. Know your own priorities

 

Knowing your goals and priorities makes it easier for you to keep focus and not get distracted. This signals that you can not be diverted from the path. Attempts to prevent you from talking become useless.

 

 

 

6. Stay focused

 

Interrupting someone works so well only because you are torn from your thoughts. It is not just the speech, but above all the concentration is interrupted. The person who interrupts then receives full attention and has achieved his goal. You can prevent this behavior – even for future situations – by not engaging in the distraction. Without proper attention, the incentive to interrupt others is lost.

 

 

 

7. Keep the right eye contact

 

Another good strategy to avoid being interrupted is constant eye contact with those you speak with. Some people are waiting for the right time to express their opinions and to interrupt someone. Through constant eye contact, however, you create a conversation situation that clearly signals that there is still no opportunity for an interruption.

For chronic interrupters you can use the power stare. Power staring means looking for longer than the normal glance. Look directly in the eyes of such a person while presenting a high status body-language. This clearly signals that you are not willing to give up control as yet.

Be careful and don’t send inviting signals with your eye contact.

 

 

 

8. Address the behavior

 

Frequent and aggressive interrupting, without showing respect, is definitely destructive. However, if someone stops you or even interrupts you, stay as friendly as possible and confront them directly with their behavior. It is perfectly legitimate to say, “You have just interrupted me, please let me continue till I close my speech.” Make clear that you do not accept such behavior. Doing that also shows that you are able to assert yourself.

 

 

 

9. Voluntarily provide space for others

 

Voluntarily giving space to other people project that you believe in respect and it communicates sovereignty, it enhances personal status.

 

 

 

10. Body language

 

The effective use of body language plays a key role in communication. The body language signals what we really think. It also reveals what we do not want to say. We signal how self-confident we are. Better send strong messages about you. Indicate that an interrupt will be met with a powerful response.

Use powerful body language like expanding our body space with larger gestures and power poses. Touching others is also a status signal.

11. Ignore the interruption

 

Granted, it’s not the finest way to deal with an interruption. But it can be effective with some penetrating interferers who are already known to inappropriately interfere in conversations. Just ignore the interjections of such people and continue the conversation with confidence. It helps if your other valued conversation partners also ignore the interruption.

 

 

 

12. Have a clarifying conversation

 

Consider that many chronic interrupters do not know that they are chronic interrupters or underestimate the impact. Your relationship with the interrupter affects the type of response. If it is possible and useful, have a fundamental conversation about future communication.

The best time for a clarifying conversation with the interrupter is some time later, when the first anger has been sufficiently reduced and you can concentrate on the essentials. Ask the interrupter to talk privately and talk about how you perceived the behavior. Mention that you felt the interruption to be disrespectful and expect different behavior from now on.

Tip: In role-playing games, this can be practiced very well beforehand.

 

 

 

13. Be careful with pauses

 

Be careful with pauses because they allow others to interrupt them. Many people interpret pauses as invitations to speak now. Such caution, however, has the disadvantage that you may not have the effect of dramatic pauses. Those who constantly try not to take breaks appear rushed and insecure. This reduces one’s own status and whoever practices something like this doesn’t seem as competent anymore.

 

 

 

14. Don’t send the wrong signals

 

Be careful with signals that can be considered as an invitation to interrupt you. Avoid the following misleading signals.

  • An inviting open body language.
  • Raising eyebrows
  • Submissive body language
  • Speaking slower
  • Speaking quieter

 

 

 

15. Stay balanced

 

Interruptions can be very outrageous, but rampant anger and outbursts of rage are rarely recommended reactions. Of course, you can get excited about an interruption, shout at the unfriendly person and then continue the conversation, still snorting with rage. Such behavior, however, puts you on a par with the interrupter and does not leave the impression you want to leave on your valued conversational partners.

 

 

 

16. Interrupt the interrupter

 

In extremely rare cases, it may help to interrupt chronic interrupters when they talk. This may provide you with a better starting point for clarifying conversations about future communication. However, this is a risk to your reputation. Observers may think your behavior is questionable and accuse you of bad communication style.

 

 

 

17. Speed up

 

Speaking a little faster will make it harder to interrupt you. The downside is that it will be harder for listeners to follow you. Moreover, rushed talking will sound less confident.

 

 

 

18. Speak louder

 

Increase the volume at which you talk when someone tries to interrupt you. As good as this works, as unpleasant it can be for the audience. It tends to sound more aggressive. In addition, a constantly more intensive use of voice reduces the variety of vocal possibilities. A varied voice is much more pleasant and effective when it comes to convincing.

 

 

 

19. Keep your voice down

 

In the eagerness of an emotional conversation, be careful not to develop a higher voice. Stress tends to increase voice pitch, which appears less competent and powerful. Be careful that your voice does not remain on top at the end of the sentence. If your voice doesn’t go down at the end of the sentence, then what you say sounds more like a question than a statement. This increases, among other things, the likelihood of interruptions.

 

 

 

20. Practice, practice, practice

 

Improving communication skills requires constant practice. You can also benefit from experts who coach and train you.

Why do people interrupt others?

 

It is important to understand the motivations behind the bad habit of interrupting other people. Here are some of the most common reasons for interrupting:

 

  • Enthusiasm
    Someone is excited or passionately eager for the current topic, which can make waiting for the appropriate opportunity difficult.
  • Lack of self awareness
    Some people just not realize that they interrupt others or that it is a bad behavior. They may be so busy with their own insecurity that they don’t realize it.
  • Fear of forgetting
    Instead of actively listening it seems to be important to deliver an idea right now before it is forgotten.
  • Ego
    The strong desire to prove expertise to peers or superiors on a topic being discussed.
  • Need for belonging
    Someone wants to be part of the conversation, but there are no breaks in the conversation.
  • Cooperative interruption
    The reason may be a good intention. For example, it is an attempt to relate to the person who is speaking; by making positive affirmations or sharing perspectives.
  • Competition
    It can be an attempt to change the subject in order to support one’s own agenda or to gain the attention of the audience.
  • Gender (Manterrupting)
    Men interrupt women much more often than other men. That is less today than many years ago, but it is still a reality.
  • Environment / Culture
    In some contexts, the phenomenon of interruption is a common experience that is not questioned. Because many others also interrupt, it seems normal and in order.

Just ask me personally

Let's get into a conversation. Please post any questions that may interest other readers in the comments. If you are interested in coaching or training, for personal questions about that and appointments you can reach me by e-mail (mail@karstennoack.com), phone +49(0)30 864 213 68 and mobile phone +49(0)1577 704 53 56. You can also use this contact form. Please read the information about the privacy policy.

 

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How do you make sure you do not get interrupted when you talk?

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Respect yourself and others will respect you. Confucius

This article is a short excerpt from the more comprehensive course materials my clients receive in a group or individual training or coaching.

Published: June 15, 2015
Author: Karsten Noack
Revision: August 13, 2019
Translation: August 13, 2019
German version: https://www.karstennoack.de/gespraeche-unterbrochen-werden-tipps-berlin/
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