Cutting people off and talking over them has become the new norm in our demanding, impatient, instant gratification world. It can sometimes become frustrating to be plowed over by someone who thinks the only voice worth listening to is his own. Here are six steps for dealing with people who like to interrupt:
1. Give 100% Attention. The next time you communicate with someone, practice giving them 100% of your attention. That means direct eye contact. That means listening to what they’re saying, and to what they’re not saying. It means reading their body language. It means listening to the tone, pitch, and volume of their voice to catch their real meaning.
2. Give Effective Feedback and Get Results with the “Feedback Sandwich.” All of us love to give feedback when it’s positive. However, most of us are much less comfortable with difficult conversations, like expressing dissatisfaction, suggesting changes or analyzing someone’s performance. By delivering your feedback along with some genuine, positive comments, the other person is much more likely to hear your message and make the desired changes.
3. Roadblocks to Listening. Listening is one of the most important skills you can master, for both business and personal life success. Listening also takes effort, and doesn’t happen automatically. Many barriers get in the way of our ability to listen to one another.
4. The Eyes Have It! When communicating, don’t underestimate the importance of eye contact. Have you ever been talking with someone and seen them look at their watch? Or noticed that they only look at you briefly, as their eyes wander around the room? The eyes have been called “the windows to the soul.”
5. The Power of the Pause. Have you ever been communicating with someone who was a “stingy contributor”? You try and try to draw them out, to engage them in the conversation, but it feels like pulling teeth? Perhaps you need to take advantage of this fact of human nature: most people are uncomfortable with silence. By using the power of the pause, you respect the other person, and you are more likely to get the information you want; a win-win situation!
6. Help for Time-Starved Communicators. Even though we live in an age with more communication tools than ever (Facebook, email, Twitter, texting), we are not necessarily more connected with the people around us. Many of us yearn to be more connected with our loved ones and friends. Once you’ve identified these things, look at what needs to change in your life to make room for your communications. Ultimately, communicating effectively saves you time. Be intentional, and make your communications work for you, not against you.
In conclusion, we all know someone that likes to interrupt, who talks without listening, who seems to think that what they have to say is as fascinating to everyone else as it is to them, and who don’t appear to understand that listening is an important part of communicating and connecting with others, but the important thing is to take responsibility for your role in the communication dance, and you’ll be amazed at how you can change the dynamics between you and others.