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handling interruptions in meetings

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  • karmayog.org
    ò Interruptions can have different intentions ask for classification add opinion ask for more details change direction of the discussion disagree ò Different
    Message 1 of 4 , Feb 27, 2014
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      Interruptions can have different intentions
      ask for classification
      add opinion
      ask for more details
      change direction of the discussion

      • Different ways in handling interruptions
      promise to come back to a point later
      politely disagree with an interruption
      say that the interruption is irrelevant or the time is short.
      Politely accept the interruption and respond to it before continuing
      Rejecting a suggestion
    • karmayog.org
      How to Interrupt Someone in a Meeting In: Effective Communication By: Laura Brandenburg Have you ever been holding your breath waiting not-so-patiently to get
      Message 2 of 4 , Feb 27, 2014
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        How to Interrupt Someone in a Meeting

        Have you ever been holding your breath waiting not-so-patiently to get a word in edgewise while one participant dominated the discussion? You see one stakeholder after another begin to check out while “that” person drones on and on about their favorite feature or pet peeve that has absolutely nothing to do with your meeting agenda.

        You need to get control of the discussion. You need to be assertive and interrupt them. But how do you do this in a polite and dignified way?

        In what follows I’ll suggest a few ways you can go about interrupting someone without being rude or damaging the stakeholder relationship.

        In many cases, especially with new stakeholders, I do feel that waiting for a lull, no matter how brief, is appropriate. And in that lull, you can ask a question to redirect the conversation.

        One of my favorites is

        “I think I’m missing something here, can you explain how this relates back to [insert problem to be solved.]“

        You have to say this with 100% sincerity. (It helps if you sincerely believe you might be missing something, even if you your prior experience would indicate they are probably heading off track.)

        Another statement I use for interruption is

        “I can see that’s important, but if we talk about that now I won’t have XYZ ready [reference a deadline or deliverable in such a way that it adds value to the stakeholder]. Do you mind if we stay focused on [the topic at hand] for this discussion?”

        A third technique I use is to actively acknowledge what I’ve heard. Sometimes the person who is continuing on just doesn’t realize that they are being heard and understood. By summarizing what you hear in total, focusing on a piece of the conversation that is relevant to the agenda, and perhaps asking a follow-up question, often you can get the meeting back on track without it feeling like an interruption at all.

      • karmayog.org
        article worth reading http://seedsforchange.org.uk/facilitationmeeting http://seedsforchange.org.uk/facilitationmeeting Go-rounds - everyone takes a turn to
        Message 3 of 4 , Feb 27, 2014
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          article worth reading

          Go-rounds - everyone takes a turn to speak without interruption or comment from other people. Go-rounds help to gather opinions, feelings and ideas as well as slowing down the discussion and improving listening. Make sure that everyone gets a chance to speak.

          Handsignals can make meetings run more smoothly and help the facilitator see emerging agreements. 

          Three simple signals should suffice:

          Raise a hand when you wish to contribute to the discussion with a general point.

          Raise both hands if your point is a direct response to the current discussion. This allows you to jump to the head of the queue, so use it wisely and discourage overuse!

          'Silent applause' - when you hear an opinion that you agree with, wave a hand with your fingers pointing upwards. This saves a lot of time as people don't need to chip in to say "I'd just like to add that I agree with..."

          Ideastorming gathers a large number of ideas quickly. Start by stating the issue. Ask people to say whatever comes into their heads as fast as possible - without censoring or discussion. This encourages creativity and frees energy. Write down all ideas for later discussion.

          Parking space - when something comes up that's not relevant to the discussion at hand "park" it in the parking space (a large sheet of paper on the wall) and deal with it at an appropriate time later. This allows you to stay focused but reassures participants they will be heard.

          Dominating behaviour - It's common that groups have a handful of dominant personalities who do most of the groups' talking and organising. Don't tolerate it just because it happens. It can be very destructive for the group in the long-term. See Example Problem box below for ideas of how to deal with dominant behaviour.

        • karmayog.org
          Competitive and Co-operative Interruptions Some psychologists differentiate between types of interruption when analyzing conversation patterns. ThereÆs
          Message 4 of 4 , Feb 27, 2014
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            Competitive and Co-operative Interruptions

            Some psychologists differentiate between types of interruption when analyzing conversation patterns. There’s competitive interruption, which is an attempt to steer the conversation in another direction. Cooperative interruption is when the comment is meant to add to the conversational flow—such as adding a related opinion or even making supportive statements—but still stops the original speaker from smoothly finishing his or her thought. The well-intentioned among us tend to cooperatively interrupt, but etiquette-wise, that’s not much better than the competitive kind. Both prevent the other people we’re conversing with from speaking their minds freely. Both make them feel that their feelings on the matter aren’t worth as much as ours. 

            When someone interrupts us, we feel annoyed primarily, but also disrespected. Regardless of what we’re talking about or who does the dirty deed, being interrupted sends the message that our words carry less weight than the interrupters’. And that’s partly true, at least in the interrupters’ opinions. Think of the times you’ve stopped someone mid-sentence. You thought something was so crucial to the conversation that it had to be voiced immediately—that your point was more important, or so important that you didn’t want to risk it not being heard. 

            Often, people who run conversational interference aren’t listening as well as they should be. They might hear a sentence or two, form an opinion they feel should be voiced, and listen for a slight pause or hesitation in conversation that allows them to interject. At this point, the attention is on themselves rather than the speaker. Instead of wanting to make points as they come to your head, have a notebook handy to jot down notes for later or make mental notes. While you may want to make a great impression and showcase your enthusiasm or knowledge, speaking over peers and managers only demonstrates a lack of respect and patience. 

            Dealing with Other Interrupters
            Since most of us have been guilty of interrupting at some point, we’ve all been victims of it, too. When you have to deal with a chronic interrupter, try speaking quickly so that the person doesn’t jump on a break in conversation. If someone starts talking over you, raise your voice slightly and continue on. When interrupters are allowed to do so unabated, it only reinforces the behavior. Parents teaching their kids good manners are told not to acknowledge them when they demand attention in the middle of another conversation. Just as children have to learn to wait their turn, those of us who interrupt need to be reminded of that lesson, too.

            Few things are so pressing to discuss that it justifies hurting someone else’s feelings in the process. When the urge to interrupt hits, just remember how it feels to be talked over and open your ears instead of your mouth.

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