Interruption Intervention

Chris Matthews during an edition of Hardball i...

Chris Matthews (MSNBC Hardball host): “What do you think was the president’s problem in the debate?”

Guest: “Well, I think….”

Chris: “Do you think that it was because he wasn’t prepared enough?”

Guest: “I saw….”

Chris: “Or that he was simply tired? What do you think? Tell me.”

Guest: “What I was going to say….”

Chris: “I never saw such a terrible performance in my life! I was appalled. But you tell me. Do you think he was sleepwalking? That’s what I think. What do you think?”

Guest: “The last time….”

Chris: “I was so disappointed! Why didn’t he bring up the facts? What was he thinking? But I’d like your view. What do you think he was trying to accomplish?”

Guest: “Chris, let me finish what I’m trying….”

Chris: “Oh. Sorry. We’ll have to continue this discussion later. We’ve run out of time. Thanks for being with us.”

The #1 complaint of customers? Interruptions! Will you please stop interrupting me! Let me finish!

People who interrupt are not listening. Their mind is moving so fast, they’re trying to think of the next thing they want to say. They are not waiting for a break in the conversation to speak. They just want to form their next opinion and spit it out, hoping you’re the one listening.

If you’re trying to sell someone – a customer, an employee, your child – you need to become a better listener. You need to stop interrupting. How? Take notes. Taking notes forces you to be a better listener. Because you’re taking notes, you can’t interrupt as often. Taking notes increases your retention by 25% and you’re more likely to take action on what you write down. Taking notes isn’t just for your convenience. It shows others that what they have to say is important. It shows respect. It shows that you care.

Stop it!: Interruptions annoy. Listen to understand, not to speak.

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