Nobody likes someone who interrupts people all the time. It’s rude and it actually thwarts clear communication from happening. Some of us interrupters, though, are aware of our problem and tired of being the jerk who cuts people off. Here are a few tricks for shutting yourself down.
Try the Five-Second Rule
If you can’t write down your thoughts, at least subject them to mental review before you use them to poison the air. Pyschologist Todd E. Linaman, Ph.D., recommends the five-second rule:
Quickly assess the importance of what you are about to blurt out. When the person stops speaking, count to five while asking yourself, “Is what I have to say absolutely critical to the conversation?” Your answer will be “no” most of the time.
You can also start the five-second countdown as soon as the thought comes to you if you’re also practicing the three-second waiting period mentioned earlier.
Catch Yourself and Reel It Back
As you try to better yourself, mistakes are bound to happen. You will still interrupt people sometimes. That’s okay! Just try to catch yourself when you do it and apologize. It’s as simple as interrupting yourself mid-sentence (you know how to do that) and saying something to the effect of, “I’m sorry, I interrupted you, please finish what you were saying.” Then go back to biting your tongue and reviewing your thoughts before delivery. If you’re having a hard time catching yourself, enlist some help from coworkers, friends, and family members. I’m sure they’ll be glad to help you shut up.