Join LinkedIn Learning Instructors for an in-depth discussion in this video How to Handle Getting Interrupted, part of 2-Minute Tips for Senior Leaders.
- Let's say you're in a meeting. You get interrupted. Fine. But a little later you speak up and you get interrupted again. I'm Dorie Clark. I teach for Duke University's Fuqua School of Business, and I'm the author of "Stand Out." Let's talk about how to handle this incredibly annoying situation. The impulse for most of us would be either to retreat into silence or get mad and lash out. Unfortunately, neither is a good idea. Here's what to do instead. First, it's useful to step back and ask yourself why are you being interrupted? Sometimes people are rude.
But other times interruptions can actually be a sign of interested engagement. If they're interrupting to ask for more details, or with a clarifying question, that can actually be a good sign. Another useful thing to look at is whether you're being interrupted by one specific person or by lots of different people. If it's one person interrupting you, it may be time to sit down with them and have a conversation about how you have conversations. Odds are your colleague isn't even aware he's interrupting you and may well be contrite. But if you find yourself being interrupted by everyone, it may be a result of your company culture.
If you feel it's hampering productivity, you could talk to your boss about appointing an interruption monitor to record instances for a couple of weeks to track it and see if it's a problem. That might allow you to suggest modifications that can help ensure more people's ideas get heard. Like empowering the meeting facilitator to stop interrupters and put the focus back on the previous speaker until she finishes. Interruptions are frustrating. But with these strategies you can begin to get at the root of the problem.