Bonnie and Dan work in different companies but experience the same frustration. Sometimes when they start to say something in a meeting – at times, when they are already talking – they get interrupted. Someone talks over them and keeps going.
The meeting continues as if nothing happened. No one loops backto ask, “What were you saying before you were interrupted?”
This is not unique to Bonnie and Dan, it happens every day at meetings just about everywhere.
Those who are valued in their organization but don’t project to be heard are run over by the louder, quick-to-jump-in voices. Of course, they could raise their voice and say, “I’m still speaking.” But that’s not their style.
What could you do when you see or hear this happening? Is it always the same people who do the interrupting? That may require a private conversation to raise the awareness of those who roll over others without a second thought.
What about suggesting at a meeting that you’d like to hear what everyone has to say? And you’d like each person to be able to speak without being interrupted. Ask everyone to be brief so that all will have a chance to say what they’re thinking. Encourage everyone to save their comments and questions until the person has finished speaking.
A step like this could begin to make a real difference in the culture of your meetings. Because for some, it is a rare gift to be listened to without being interrupted.
You could be the giver of that gift.