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.


How to Talk to a Man – La La La La La La La

Barbara and Allan Pease (Why Men Don’t Listen and Women Can’t Read Maps) found that if women want to talk to men, they must understand the men’s M.O. Men are competitive and aggressive in their conversations. Every word counts. Men are conversational bottom liners. Leave out the fluff, get to the point. Women can multi-task conversations. Men are single-task talkers. Brain scans prove it.

And men hate to be interrupted. They found that when two men are talking with each other, rarely will they interrupt one another. (Chris Matthews is the #1 exception.) However, when men are talking with women (sorry ladies – this is not fair but true), they’ll interrupt the women 76% of the time. “Hurry up!” their mind is screaming.

The lesson for women in business? Don’t interrupt the man, be precise with your words, and get to the point with as few words as possible. The lesson for men? Stop interrupting. Give them time to get there. They will. Eventually.

Urgent Care required: Men and women are polar opposites when communicating with each other. Fail to adjust the way you communicate or your message is DOA.