How I learned not to interrupt people

In the summer of 2014, I was at negotiations in the office of Kudago. I took on the design of the advertising account interface, this was one of the first meetings. We collected functional requirements and discussed all sorts of details. I was in a hurry during the negotiations and “hurried” the general director, Alexander Prokofiev, periodically interrupting him. At one point he said:

– Dude, let me finish first, and then we’ll listen to you.

It was like I was dropped into water. Several people were present at the meeting, in front of whom they reprimanded me, and until the end of the negotiations I sat and was sad. I am sure that the change in my mood was very noticeable. Of course, at that moment I was very offended by Alexander.

After the negotiations, having come to my senses and thinking about everything carefully, I realized two things:

  1. I really interrupted Alexander, the remark was to the point;

  2. It’s good that he made this remark, because before him, by a strange coincidence, no one had besieged me. And if this had continued, then perhaps I would never have known that I was not a very good interlocutor and that I needed to change.

After that incident, I began to pay more attention to my impulses to interrupt my interlocutor. And I noticed that such a desire arises in the following cases:

— I heard something catchy in other people’s words (for example, someone was wrong or, conversely, very right) and I urgently needed to insert my opinion or story about this;
— I thought I understood the idea from the first sentence, and wanted to get to the point as quickly as possible, abandoning long introductory notes;
“I remembered something on the topic and was afraid that if I didn’t interrupt and talk about it, I would definitely forget what I wanted to talk about.

And I came to the conclusion that in all these cases, by interrupting the person, I lost more than I gained. Firstly, almost anyone will simply be annoyed if you do not allow him to finish his thought, and next time he will think three times before entering into a dialogue with me. Secondly, when I listen to others, I become smarter, I receive some new information, benefit (even if it is buried in drawn-out and incoherent speeches). If I speak on my own, I often just amuse my vanity and practice my oratory.

What’s for today? Occasionally I lose control and interrupt the other person at the wrong moment. After that, I make sure to apologize and ask him to continue his story, reminding him where he left off. This demonstrates the fact that, despite my rudeness, I still listened to him carefully.

I am increasingly beginning to enjoy the role of an attentive listener in a conversation.

I deliberately interrupt in situations where I need to moderate the conversation and be responsible for ensuring that certain agreements are reached within the limited time of the conversation.

Today I interrupt friends more often than colleagues and clients. This is because with friends I can allow less self-control because I feel safe with them. Fortunately, my friends know how to make comments to me about this, and I am not offended.

Why is this even important for a freelancer? If a person is a highly qualified specialist, but an unpleasant interlocutor, the client may tolerate his company once, twice, three times. But it is unlikely that he will apply regularly. And if the service is extended over time and involves many hours of conversation, then the first project will most likely turn out to be the last. And given how much time and resources we spend finding good clients, it makes sense to do a little work on yourself and increase the chance that they will come back again and again.

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