Office Etiquette to Take Home: How to Stop Interrupting at Work and at Home

Few things are more off-putting than interrupting someone when he or she is speaking, especially in business. If you’ve recently found yourself being constantly interrupted, you can surely relate to how abrasive it feels.

Here are my etiquette tips on curtailing your nasty little habit…Silence please!

  • Practice not interrupting at home.  Ask your friends and family to alert and stop you if (and when) you interrupt.  You may be completely unaware of how much, and how often you interrupt those you encounter on a daily basis. Being able to stop interrupting at home will surely spill over into the office as well.
  • Improve your listening skills.  Are you truly listening to what your coworker or supervisor has to say? It’s far too easy to fall into the trap of simply planning what your response will be when others are speaking.  Stop interrupting and give yourself time to fully listen and fully respond.  Sometimes the feeling of being in a hurry to respond is an unnecessary burden we put on ourselves.  Take your time, avoid distractions and maintain eye contact.
  • Quickly correct your misstep.  If you catch yourself interrupting someone, quickly apologize and give him or her room to speak.  He or she will appreciate your apology and be more likely to forget the mistake.
  • Practice self-control.  If you’ve developed the bad habit of interrupting, be hyper vigilant and make every effort to improve. When you catch yourself wanting to jump in during someone else’s sentence, literally bite your tongue or touch your mouth for just a moment.  This will serve as a gentle reminder to yourself to stop interrupting.
  • Jot it down. If you are in a meeting and have the urge to interrupt, write your thoughts down on a notepad instead.  This way, you won’t lose your train of thought and your response will be more cohesive…a definite plus.

Given the proper time and attention, you’ll find you will interrupt less, have more friends and cultivate more business contacts in the process.


Diane Gottsman

Diane Gottsman is a national etiquette expert and modern manners professional, sought out industry leader, television personality, accomplished speaker, Huffington Post blogger, author, and the owner of The Protocol School of Texas, a company specializing in executive leadership and etiquette training. Diane is routinely quoted in national and international media including The New York Times, The BBC, CNN, Bloomberg Business Week, Kiplinger, Huffington Post Canada, U.S. News and World Report, and Forbes. She is the resident etiquette expert for two popular morning talk shows, SA Living and Good Day Austin. She has been seen on The TODAY Show, HLN Headline News, WGN Chicago, and CBS Sunday Morning. Her clients range from university students to Fortune 500 companies and her workshops cover topics ranging from tattoos in the workplace to technology at the dinner table and the proper use of social media.

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