GK Drill

Interrupting with Clarity and Class

Have a difficult time getting your voice into a conversation? This drill teaches the difference between interrupting and interjecting, gives three specific stages to interject with clarity, and matches both interrupting and interjecting to visual cues of animal behavior as a way to remember the techniques. When you get a difficult or unexpected question you may need a moment to think before responding. In reality, whatever the circumstances, a little breathing time can help you provide a more concise and structured response. These six breathing time techniques help you gain that time, increase your composure, and frame responses when answering questions. The key is to implement these with sincerity and specificity. Watch this video for ideas on how to do just that. 

Interjecting is getting your voice into the conversation when there's an opportunity. Interrupting is talking over someone else. Teaching those you support to do both is important. In this drill, we give speakers three concrete stages for interjecting:

1. Name transparently that you're going to interject
2. Give context for why you're going to do so
3. Build on the conversation in a positive way

To help speakers remember this, we compare it to how a bird might land on a body of water: aiming for the entry point, making contact with the water, and then smoothly paddling along the surface.

Interrupting is the rarely needed but essential skill of being able to speak over someone else. For that skill, we compare it to the attack of a shark on its prey. For both of these skills, you can even coach participants in doing the physical gestures of the respective animals to make certain they're doing the correct behaviors (obviously they should only do these gestures when on the phone, as doing them in person looks downright silly!). Important to note: interrupting should be used rarely, if ever. The costs of being a chronic interrupter are large. At the same time, never interrupting in your career can risk silencing you all together in specific conversations. On the flip slide, learning this drill also helps people who chronically interrupt become more aware of that behavior and therefore reduce it.

Click on the image below to watch a video of GK CEO & Founder Michael Chad Hoeppner offer a tip for tolerating silence…

Don't stop there, though!

Keep improving with the resources below.

Check out our YouTube page for warm-ups, drills, keynotes, and more.

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