I'm a bit behind in the podcasts, but as I was listening to the communications podcast on the way to work today, I had a burning question come to mind that I'd like feedback on.

I work in a large financial institution, and am constantly interacting with type A personalities. As such, it is often difficult to not interupt as is suggested during the podcast. If I were to wait for an opening, in many cases, I'll actually never be able to practice this new technique.

Given this scenario, I'd like some recommendation on how to interject in these situations, without seeming to interupt. Thoughts?

ccleveland's picture

"Type A" is about people who feel they have compete or out-perform. Interrupting is like saying, "What you have to say isn't as important as what I have to say."

Do you think that they'll want to listen to what you have to say, or try to figure out how to convince you that what they have to say is more important?

Wait your turn. Be patient. Build trust. Over time, they won't see what you're saying as "competition" with what they're saying.


darrengreer's picture

Patience, of course, being the major problem I have in life.

I appreciate the response, and have been trying to catch myself from interupting as they do. I suppose once I'm more established in their circle of trust it will be easier to get my thoughts voiced. Until then, I'll continue to work on these techniques and see how it goes.

lalam's picture

I find it difficult at times to get in a word in a discussion; as I wait for an opening, five other people rush in at the same time and talk over me. I see my ability to speak up in large meetings as a major area of development based on a recent 360 leadership survey.

Two things I have been doing different recently:

1. Give clear non-verbal cues that I want to speak up: lean forward, make a swift gesture, clear my throat, maybe even raise a hand a bit (not straight up, but kind of sideways and up).

2. Enlist support from the meeting leader or a trusted co-worker to invite me to comment.

Once people begin to realize that my comments are actually relevant and important, they are more likely to stop and ask for my opinion, even the A-types.

WillDuke's picture
Training Badge

Try establishing eye contact with whomever has the floor. That's how you get queued up.

thaGUma's picture

Wait. You will gain other's insights that may change your input (when you get a chance to give any). Spend time listening and gathering info. When you get a window, you will be able to slant your original thoughts to cover other's comments.
If you miss the chance, pick up the point elsewhere if needs be but make sure others know you have something to add if you possbibly can.
Do not get mistaken for a non-player by being unheard.


SPPenn's picture

Yep, I have the same problem - grabbing the floor just doesn't come naturally. One thing that I have done to improve, is to enlsit help from others that are having a difficult time to "grab the microphone".

While in the meeting, watch other people who are trying to speak but aren't. When they are giving clues to wanting to speak, I speak up and say, "Gene, you have a point?" or "Diane, what are you thinking?"

For some reason its easier for me to speak up for some else instead of myself. And, just as important, they (Gene, Diane, etc...) will reciprocate.