Stop Butting In

Published: May 12, 2014
By: Faye Hollands

Don’t you just hate it when you’re in the middle of saying something important and BAM, the person you’re talking to cuts you off and seems oblivious to their rude interruption!  We’ve all done it, some more than others, and it can be hard to hold yourself back when you’re dying to say something in return.  But the interruption isn’t actually the biggest problem – it’s your agenda that needs adjusting…

Zip It

Stephen Covey once said “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand, they listen with the intent to reply” and herein lies the issue.

If you’re one of those people who regularly trips over yourself to say something in a conversation, and inadvertently cuts the other person off, you’re getting too ahead of yourself.  Instead of listening to what the other person’s saying, you’re too busy thinking about how you’re going to reply and that means you’re not paying full attention – who knows how much you’ll miss in the process.

It’s tricky – we all get excited from time to time, and find ourselves itching to get our point across.  Some people take ages to convey their message which can be hugely frustrating to listen to, and sometimes we’re just plain bored and want to move the conversation along.

But the problem is that when we interrupt it means we’re not actively listening.  We’ve moved on and are focusing on what WE want to say, rather than the conversation at hand.

Now sometimes that won’t matter, you won’t miss anything important and the blatant rudeness might feel justified.  But if you’re meeting with a client, or sitting in a performance appraisal for example, then your interruption means you run a high risk of missing crucial information or non-verbal cues that could change the message entirely.

When you truly tune in to what someone’s saying, through their words but also the tone of their voice and body language, you can pick up on different levels of information that would otherwise be completely missed when you’re distracted by your own thoughts and agenda.

So what do you need to do to show that you’re actively listening: –

  • Don’t interrupt – give the other person the space they need to talk and never, ever cut them off.  Don’t start talking until they’ve stopped.
  • Focus – tune in to exactly what is being said in that moment so that you get the detail, and stop thinking about what you’re going to say in response
  • Be interested – show you’re engaged in the conversation through your body language i.e. nodding, lean forward, maintain eye contact
  • Ask questions – this shows you’re interested and will also help you collect more information to formulate a savvy response
  • Allow silences – you don’t need to fill all the space with talk, take time out to think about what has been said and then you can think about how to reply

Resist the temptation to hurry things along by interjecting, and instead reign yourself in and show the art of communication some love and respect… those around you will be grateful, and you’ll get more out of your conversations as a result.

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Written by Faye Hollands – Director at Outshine Consulting

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success.

To receive your FREE MP3 download of Faye’s popular teleseminar ‘How To Create A Career You Love‘ and weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email fayehollands@outshineconsulting.com

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email fayehollands@outshineconsulting.com

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