Do you HAVE a FEAR of being INTERRUPTED?

 In Body language, Delivery, Entrepreneur, Environment, Featured Media, Gesturing, Learning from Luminaries, Luminary, Meetings, Mindset, News, Q&A, The Winning Voice, Voice

‘… when we feel powerful, even our voices spread out and take up more space than they do when we feel powerless. Stanford University psychologists Lucia Guillory and Deborah Gruenfeld refer to this as “a way of claiming social space.” We don’t rush our words. We’re not afraid to pause.

We feel deserving of the time we’re using.

We even make more direct eye contact while we’re speaking.

Guillory and Gruenfeld suggest slow speech demonstrates a kind of openness: “When people speak slowly they run the risk of being interrupted by others. In speaking slowly one indicates that he or she has no fear of interruption. People who speak slowly have a high chance of being heard clearly and understood.

They also take up the time of those with whom they’re communicating.” *

Here are my views on the above vignette:

# Overall, I agree with the piece with some caveats (please see below). It aligns with my view that – if you are perceived as rushing, that is junior behaviour. If you are perceived as owning time, that is senior behaviour.

# The point of ‘no fear of interruption’ is an important one. That is, a speaker’s strong, internal belief, that he/she should not be interrupted; that his/her view should be heard – will effect the listener and cause the listener to be silent during the speaker’s delivery.

# I believe Gruenfeld and Guillory ‘speaking slowly’ recommendation is Not, advising to speak with a monotone cadence.

Of course, in robust group discussions people will interrupt you. My advice to clients is that they prepare and do mock practice of their communication delivery, for being interrupted. Here is one way to respond upon being interrupted by a peer.

With a firm, even vocal tone, say for example:

‘X, I haven’t finished’/’Let me finish please’ (and then continue to speak your message).

This response should be used judiciously with interrupters who are senior to you. However, my field research on using these responses with peer and junior interrupters, indicates this. When the interrupter receives this response, on just one occasion, they’ll be less likely to interrupt you in the future.

# It is critical that while speaking slowly, that the speaker’s voice has energy. A dull voice even if slow in delivery will encourage interruption.

# Clarity and structure of a message is also crucial if a speaker doesn’t want to be interrupted

(*I have misplaced the name of the book that the quote was contained in. If you know the book, please let me know. Thanks)

Own the Conversation

A good way to practice speaking slowing is to use my signature ‘Measuring Cup’ speaking technique.

Here is a 2:12 video CLIP of me demonstrating the ‘Measuring Cup’ speaking technique.

I suggest you:

  • Watch the CLIP
  • Over the next seven days, on purpose in safe interactions, speak while utilising the Measuring Cup technique


p.s.  The producer of the podcast 10 Lessons it took me 50 years to learn, recently told me this 43:14 minute Episode, All agreements are with yourself, in which I was interviewed by Duff Watkins, is the most downloaded Episode to date. I encourage you to listen to it, if you haven’t already. Thanks

(Image by Dickson Donatus from Pixabay)

Recommended Posts

Leave a Comment