Whether you’re contributing your thoughts in a meeting, giving a presentation or having a routine conversation with a colleague, getting interrupted can be stressful, discouraging and even downright hurtful. The interruption might take the form of someone interjecting their own comments, completely derailing you. You might see them start to nod and try to rush you along. They might even begin to appear distracted, and that might distract you as you start to think, “Is this person even listening to me?”
Your instinct in these situations is likely to assume the other person is rude, self-centered or a poor listener. But resenting someone for butting in or zoning out while you’re talking not only doesn’t help to solve the problem, but it also discounts the responsibility you have as the speaker for keeping your audience engaged and providing them with crucial information.
In other words, if you find yourself being interrupted, it’s probably your fault.
That’s the diagnosis that Stacey Hanke, speaking coach and author of Influence Redefined, issues to people who get interrupted often. After years of consulting with leaders of Fortune 500 companies, including Coca-Cola, FedEx and Kohl’s, Hanke has identified several strategies to help you keep anyone’s attention -- even the most difficult personalities.
Hanke spoke with Entrepreneur about the common faux pas the chronically interrupted make, and she offered some strategies to prevent future interruptions, break through the noise to get your point across and solidify your reputation as a confident, credible leader. Click through the slideshow for Hanke’s tips.