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The Right Way to Interrupt Someone at Work

The art and science of successful interruptions.

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This story appears in the October 2016 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Hi! sorry, sorry, sorry. Just want to say one thing before you continue flipping pages! Totally sorry for interrupting. You look fantastic, by the way -- what is that, like, a tunic? Anyway, the thing is: We're always interrupting at work. We interrupt each other. We interrupt ourselves. An email is an interruption. An instant message is, too. A phone call; an office drop-by; a "Can I grab you for a minute?" -- those are all interruptions. And they're all (mostly) unavoidable. Like all unavoidable problems at work, interruption should be embraced as an effective tool of business. And the key to making interruption effective is good intentions: You have a desire to facilitate the goals of the one you're interrupting, even if, you know, the one you're interrupting doesn't want to be interrupted.

Illustration by Paul Sahre

Related: How to Ask the Right Question in the Right Way

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