I have a really hard time not interrupting my spouse, friends, family and coworkers while they are talking. Most often it is my husband that I interrupt the most; and it drives him nuts! He also interrupts me from time to time, and then I get distracted. Here are some key points to try if you’re like me and want to become a better communicator.
- If you are the one talking, just keep talking beyond the interruption. If you stop talking and acknowledge the interruption, you are rewarding it. This will increase the likelihood of interruptions happening in the future.
- Use a non-verbal signal that you each can use when one wants to interject something while the other spouse is speaking. Maybe a raised hand or finger, or maybe something silly.
- Come up with a way to react when you’re interrupted by the other spouse. An example could be a hand signal that indicates you’ve heard each other but will address the point later, or a head shake that says, “Not yet”, or some other gesture.
- Check your pride. Interrupting says, what I am saying is more important than what you are saying.
- Respect who is talking to you. This is often forgotten when talking to someone similar in authority as ourselves. View whoever is speaking, more important than yourself.
- Quit trying to win! This is a big one for me.We can easily slip into compete mode, acting as if every conversation is a battle to win. This may be who is right, who is smarter, or we are trying to prove we already know everything. The purpose of conversation is not to win, but to become closer to others.
- Pause before speaking. Mentally pause on your thoughts so you can choose what you want to say. Allow a little silence before responding.
- Rephrase and reflect the information you are hearing. Put what others have said into your own words and speak it back to them. This will insure that you are listening and understanding correctly.
- Lastly, apologize if you do interrupt. Don’t sit and wait for an opportunity to speak, sit and listen to them.
Start practicing with a few of these tips until you feel you are ready to add-on more. Eventually, my hope is that you can use all of these steps effectively in your relationships.
Do you have any more tips? Do you have any other bad communication habits? What are they? Comment below.