Has someone ever tried asking you a question, they only get about half way through, but you know what they are going to ask, so you start telling them the answer before they are finished, only to find out that the question you answered, is not even close to what they were going to ask because at the end of their question they had a very carefully laid out plot twist you did not see coming at all?

I am guilty of interrupting from time to time. The distance between the two times in the previous sentence is often very short, especially when my co-workers are talking about something really exciting! I definitely need to work on that because no one likes to be interrupted.

Deb Calvert explains that interrupting someone when they speak, you inadvertently signal that you “feel the speaker’s ideas and thoughts are less valuable than our own.” – A Model for Active Listening: Master a Skill That Can Boost Your Career. Making people feel that they are unimportant is not a great way to make friends at work.

Instead, let the person speaking know they are a high-priority by waiting to respond until you have all of the information. It is crucial to slow down and give the “speaker more room to fully communicate their own complete thoughts. Even if what the speaker say is identical to what we would have said, there is merit in letting the speaker say it,” adds Calvert.

Now that you have all of the information because you waited patiently until the speaker was finished, you can formulate a better solution and display sharp intellect by solving that really difficult problem that saves the day.

Do you have any strategies that help you listen more and interrupt less? Leave me a comment and let me know.

Photo Credit – Simply Bovine