In Art Of Coaching Podcast, Podcasts

Today’s archetype: The Interrupter

Maybe you know someone like this or maybe you are “The Interrupter” yourself.

Either way, we all know the type – in meetings, conversations, and debates, they are constantly cutting others off, becoming a distraction, dominating the discourse, and/or stifling any sort of collaboration. And often, it comes off negatively, as if they are just looking for attention. 

But it’s not always that simple.  Sometimes interrupting can simply be a strategy for achieving basic human needs – to be heard, understood, valued, and validated.

Today’s episode is all about how to manage The Interrupter in a variety of contexts.  Some of the specific considerations and strategies I cover include, 

  • Possible root causes for the behavior (6:30)
  • How to handle it when someone interrupts you (13:30)
  • The WRONG ways to handle it when someone interrupts you (24:10)
  • Times or contexts in which interruptions are actually appropriate (27:05)

Referenced Resources:


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Brett Bartholomew  0:12  

Hey everyone, before we jump into today’s episode, I want to talk to you about something that we do that’s really exciting. It is our Brand Builder course. And it is meant to help any of you whether you’re starting from scratch, unsure about your unique value, your pricing strategy, maybe even your target audience, or those of you that have all that figured out, but you’re trying to scale more sustainably, you’re trying to build your business more without losing your mind. So whether you’re having difficulties figuring out well, should I hire this person? Should I go out on my own? Should I increase my prices should I continue to do social media, any of the confusion that comes with building a brand or a business we would love to help. And our next one is October 7, and 8 in Phoenix, Arizona, October 7, and 8 in Phoenix, Arizona, you can go to Now, I also want to be honest, I am not the 10x your business, get a plane, get a yacht type, I am not the person that’s going to tell you, you need to be some social media superstar, or you need to quadruple down on YouTube or you need to do this, I am the person that’s going to tell you that you need to execute that you actually need to sit down, take the time, go through some basic strategy sessions. And I don’t care if you’ve already made your first million or you haven’t even made your first dollar. There are so many commonalities on how to build a strong business, maintain a strong business or scale a strong business. So the more you can get around a wide group of people that have different perspectives, the better. So if you want to build a grassroots business, or you want to scale the business you already have go to Now that’s


Welcome to the Art of coaching Podcast. I’m Brett Bartholomew. And at a young age poor communication nearly cost me my life. Now, I help others navigate the gray area of social interaction, power dynamics and communication so they can become more adaptable leaders regardless of their profession, age or situation. This podcast is for everybody who is fascinated with solving people problems. So if you’re in the no nonsense type who appreciates frank conversations, advice you can put to use immediately, and learning how others navigate the messy realities of leadership. You’re in the right place. I’m glad that you’re joining us. Let’s dive in.


Hey, everyone, welcome back. Today’s episode is on a topic that I’m sure many of you have encountered and struggled with. It is all about how to manage somebody who will not stop interrupting. Now, this is going to be in a wide variety of contexts. We have people that come to us that want help in the workplace, their personal lives, whatever. And we’re only going to be able to touch on so much. So I hope you can take some of the lessons today and just extrapolate them and expand upon them in your own context. But we all know the type in meetings and conversations debates, they constantly cut others off. They’re always dominating the discourse, stifling any kind of collaboration, almost kind of just saying, hey, I want to be noticed. But it’s not always that simple, either. A lot of times when we interrupt, there’s some basic human needs there. So we’re going to talk about the psychology of interrupting. We’re going to talk about how to manage it without being rude if you need to get more assertive, anything, but the goal is to help you manage more of your frustration. And to really keep people from reducing efficiency and even impacting morale in a negative way, within a team, right. So it’s easy to just say, well, let’s just be more assertive, or let’s politely ask them to stop or let’s utilize body language. So let them know that they’re getting in our way. But I want to give you something a little bit more tactical than that. So let’s start off with the psychology of interrupting root causes, right and wrong ways to handle it. And we’ll bounce around a little bit here. So if you’re driving, make sure to earmark some parts. I always like to screenshot if I hear something on a podcast, and I know I can’t take a note, all screenshot it and then I’ll go back and look at that time stamp so to speak, you can always check our show notes or you can just reach out to us at And we’re happy to provide you with a transcript and some notes there. 


But root causes Alright, root causes of interrupting. Now remember, they’re not always going to describe everybody I interrupt, and I studied communication for a living. So this first one doesn’t really always apply to me just like it might not apply to you. But we want to know a wide variety of root causes. And one of those is asserting dominance. Some people will interrupt to try to assert some kind of control in a conversation, they might feel like their opinions are more valuable. Or maybe they even feel pressure to establish themselves as an authority figure. And they might not want to be overbearing. Remember, there’s some impulse control here is well, it’s hard to control our impulses. I think it’s very easy, once again, to just say anybody that interrupts is rude, or they’re an asshole, or they’re not considerate. But sometimes we really have something that we want to contribute to the conversation. And people might fear also, that they’re not going to remember something. So if they let somebody finish, and we’ve all been told that, hey, just let this individual finish their thought. But then that individual goes on for about 10 more minutes. And now you’ve either forgotten what you want to say, or it’s no longer relevant based on where the conversation went. But yeah, there are some other people that just feel like, Hey, I’m the smartest one in the room, you need to hear me another root cause and I already kind of spoiled this one was that impulsivity, that lack of self control, when we have impulsive behavior, and this doesn’t always have to deal with somebody that is low in maturity, so to speak, it’s just anything that leads to a lack of self control in how one speaks, or one acts or anything like that. That’s a problem. So we’ll talk about some strategies with that to eagerness and excitement. Some interruptions occur simply because somebody is really passionate about the subject. I’m guilty, the majority of the time when I interrupt even when I know better. I’m just really passionate. I don’t mean any. I don’t mean any ill will. I just want to share my thought, or I think something’s actually even really helpful. Or maybe I even want to interrupt, or I tend to interrupt because I want to amplify or bolster or reaffirm what somebody says, regardless, it can be a distraction. And I know that’s not always helpful. Remember, not all these things are intended to offend or dominate. And I keep repeating that, because we’re not just going to look at where might they be the problem, but where might we or you be the problem. Sometimes people get really frustrated when somebody interrupts and they think that it immediately means that this person doesn’t respect me, or that this person thinks they’re smarter. And as I alluded to earlier, why that can often be the case. It’s not always so sometimes you just need to take things a little less personally, and realize that communication is hard. Most people never train I mean, ask yourself, right, when’s the last time you wouldn’t actually worked on the way that you interact? The way that get evaluated, get feedback there, and no agenda there. I know, damn. Well, we’re one of the only resources that provides those kinds of outputs with our apprenticeship. But it’s just valid. You communication is a skill, and interrupting and managing your emotions. And all those things fall within that interpersonal and intrapersonal category. And so if you don’t practice it, and other people don’t practice it, don’t be surprised when people are not great at it. And that leads into another root cause lack of awareness and social skills. 


Some individuals just aren’t aware of certain social cues. And I know that seems weird. But just remember, get out of your own head, we’re not all brought up the same way we come from different parts of the world. And some things that some people and cultures might view as rude. It’s perfectly acceptable in other cultures, and that could be cultures in terms of just geographic, right, somebody from Oh, India, or this part of the world, or whatever. That could also be the culture that’s more local, within your own home, your own company, anything like that. So some folks don’t even realize they’re interrupting. They don’t even think that, oh, this, this person might perceive that as rude. And it doesn’t matter what you think about that, you have to respect the fact that people are brought up with different beliefs, and they express themselves in different ways. And it’s up to us to manage that. You know, just a brief aside. I’m reading the book, Psych by Paul Bloom. I’m big into psychology, so much of this plays into communication. And something we talk about that really Paul Bloom reaffirms. He’s a professor at Yale, is that just how critical perception is to successful interaction? Now, he goes longer into the book and says, imagine you met somebody, an alien life form just for the sake of discussion, right? And when we think about the passage of time, imagine to us one second is a year to them or vice versa, a year to them is one second to us. When there is a basic gap, perceptual gap with things like time or something else. It makes it really hard for people to interact, right. And that’s, why people struggle to interact. We can’t read each other’s minds. We perceive things differently. Perception is very subjective. So we’ve got to use Our communication skills to bridge that gap in perception, all of you and we say it will beat you over the head with it, we talked about it again and again, misunderstanding is the baseline. So you should expect people to interrupt, you should expect people to not listen, well, you should expect people to forget what you said, you should expect people to disagree with you. That is the baseline. And there’s great research to support that. It is very, very, very hard to get on the same page as somebody else that has their own desires, insecurities, perceptions, which is why I think, and I believe, and I’d love to be, by all means, prove me wrong. People need more training, I mean, think about it, people will train with firearms, people will train and practice for a certain sport or a skill. But if you don’t actually train the most critical skill we have interacting, and also interacting and emotion, written contacts and all this, it’s very hard to have any hope to get on the same page. 


The final root cause that we’re going to talk about today, certainly not the final of of all the possible root causes is anxiety or insecurity. interruptions can stem from a place of anxiety or insecurity. Somebody, as we said earlier, feels the need to prove themselves. And a lot of times they want to seek validation. So just the ones that we cover today is some folks want to assert dominance that can also come from a place of insecurity, you’ll see these are interrelated impulsiveness, a lack of self control, eagerness excitement, a lack of just awareness and or social skills, anxiety and insecurity. So now let’s talk about some of the right ways. And I don’t like using that term, but just more helpful ways to handle interrupting that, you know, the easiest one is just to think about politely asserting yourself. Now, this can be done in so many different ways. And it’s beyond the scope to do them all. But let’s say I’m talking right now, somebody interrupts and could say, hey, I want to hear your opinion on this, can you just let me finish this point real quick, and we’ll go to you, it happens a lot to me when I speak. I’m getting ready. At the time of this recording, we’re getting ready to go run another workshop. And inevitably, I’ll be in the middle of something, somebody raises their hand. And we like having interaction at our workshops, we definitely want people to just by all means interrupt come with a thought. But what I tell them is, hey, if you raise your hand, and you have something to say, just know, I’ll get to come back to you. But if I’m in the middle of a thought, or in the event, that you ask a question, and I don’t address it right away. I’ll let you know when that’s going to be covered. But somebody raises their hand. And because of that need for validation, I’ll typically say and I’m making up all names in this episode. Hey, John, I see you. the point is important to me. If you can just wait a minute, I’ll come back to and by the way, this is what I do to mitigate any anxiety. If I forget John, just raise your hand again, I’m in perfect, boom, great. Now that person’s like I’ve been seen. They’ve acknowledged that my point, even if they don’t know what it is, is important, or at least they’re interested in it. And then they’ve also given me permission to reach out to them again, if I feel like I’m being forgotten. All right. That’s great. Now, there’s also times where it’s just you’re going to have to tell somebody Now’s not the time now is Now’s not the time and be a little bit more. So I like to Mehta communicate a little bit say we’re doing a staff meeting. And in our staff meetings, we also want to make sure everybody’s heard. I don’t like it being a monologue any more than anybody else. But let’s say something happened  in our business. And I need to address it on the staff meeting. Well, I’ll just get out in front of that. I’ll say, hey, team, I apologize. But today, it’s going to be a little bit Brett heavy. And normally I encourage some interruptions and chiming in. But today, I really need you to just let me get through the end of this. And then we’ll take those questions. So it’s not that I don’t value you. It’s not that I don’t think any, this is just kind of a an overall statement, an address an announcement, we need to get it out. So sometimes just set those expectations. And you see that in the previous example, too. But if you just ignore, which is a wrong way, a counter example to handle interrupting, if you just ignore the interruption, or you don’t set that expectation, well, all that’s gonna do is lead to increase frustration. It doesn’t address the underlying issue, or the root cause. All right,


Let me give you another tactic. You might be in a situation where you it’s not so much public, and you need to address it privately. So if we’ve also had situations and I try to be as practical as possible, but that’s always going to lean on a lot of my lived experience. So we’ll sometimes have somebody that’s maybe a little bit too enthusiastic. We’ve called on them we’ve allowed them to interrupt but now it’s getting to be a distraction, not just for myself, but others. So what I might do In that case is I might during a bathroom break or some other natural kind of just pausing the action, I’m going to speak to the person privately. And again, all these names are made up. So I might say, hey, Dion, you’re doing a great job interacting. And I, it seems like you’re really passionate. But just keep in mind we have to stay on time here. Is there something that I’ve made too confusing? Is there something that I could be more helpful with, I just want to make sure to give you some one to one time, so we can address it away from the group. And that’s a way for me to express my concern, and validate them as well without attacking them personally. Because remember, just assume, assume, we talked about in the sense of hanlons, razor, that’s h a n, l o n s hanlons, razor, quit attributing malice, or mal intent to something that sometimes it’s just a lack of awareness or naivete. Remember, not everybody knows what they’re doing. Now, if you say, well, Brett, how would you handle this? If this person is doing it from a malicious standpoint? I mean, where do you want me to start? I’m a pretty direct communicator, if you’ve heard me, if you’ve come to our workshops, you know about the four communication styles. And if you don’t know what I’m talking about, we have a podcast on it that will link but we go more in depth on it in our workshops. I’m pretty straightforward. So if somebody if you do think that they’re being malicious, it’s also okay, just to be direct and say, Hey, I’m sensing that there might be an issue here. Am I wrong? Is it just genuine curiosity? But you know, be specific when you do come with that, say, based on blank, blank, blank, based on the fact that, you know, I’ve entertained your interruptions. And, you know, I value your feedback? I do. But it seems like either via your tone of voice, or if it’s not their tone, your body language, or if it’s not their body language, your blank, whatever, just be specific, and say, based on this, I’m perceiving it, like, something’s wrong, is that the case? And how can we address it? And guys, just steal my words, if you’re like, Man, I don’t, I just wouldn’t know how to say that. I’m not perfect. I mean, golly, if you listen to this podcast a lot, these podcasts are improvised. I mean, I’ll make notes to make sure I hit some key points. But you, you listen to a lot of my imperfections. And these are things that we work on in our speaker school. So you don’t need to feel insecure about that either. Take my words, make them your own. Or if you are struggling with that stuff, come to our speaker school, come to our apprenticeship. We’ll work with you on that. Alright, let’s continue to get to more ways to handle interrupting. So we’ve talked about politely asserting yourself addressing the issue privately, it’s always helpful to set clear ground rules in group settings. I’m not going to belabor this because I already mentioned it, setting those ground rules can help manage those interruptions, hey, I want a lot of questions, I want your input. But if you can, let me get through these first 10 minutes, I’d really appreciate it. But just remember on their end, a lot of times they just want to contribute. And they don’t know, I think this is one of the most important things that you need to consider when you’re dealing with somebody that is interrupting a lot. One of the most important things you can remember, if you’re dealing with an interrupter is all those root causes, whether they’re trying to assert dominance, whether it’s because of anxiety, insecurity, a lack of impulse control, or whatever, they also can’t read your mind. So some of these people might be trying to help they have a genuinely helpful thought. They don’t know when or if you’re going to stop there. They feel like there might be time pressure on them, or whatever. But you have to realize that they sometimes just want to contribute and help. So the more you can let them in and say, Hey, let me get through these 10 minutes, then I’ll open it up for questions and interjections. Or, hey, I want to make it through this point. And then by all means, if you have something to say, let me know. Just give them that red carpet. Give them that red carpet, because most people are insecure and anxious. And they don’t know how to communicate in a skilled fashion. Forgive them don’t just criticize those kinds of people see it from their perspective, because you’ve interrupted as that in that facet as well. Right. And so that leads into just if you want somebody else to listen to you, you want somebody else to be respectful of you when you’re speaking, well, then you need to be respectful of those areas as well. You need to be respectful that most people want to feel like they’re a part of something.


If you’re tuning in for the first time, or even the 100th time, I want to make sure I make something clear at art of coaching. We specialize in all things, leadership development, and usually the things that you don’t read about in books, right, most leadership books are not going to tell you how to not get taken advantage of. Unfortunately, most leadership books, either profile famous historical figures, or they give you some kind of cheesy TED Talk wrapped in 300 pages, right? It doesn’t tell you the things that you need to know as you’re going through them. And that’s what we want to be. All of our resources collectively are a Practical Playbook for how to navigate power dynamics, and people, or even how to get out of your own way. We’ve worked with people in over 30 different professions. And we would love the opportunity to help you. So reach out to us at And whether you want mentoring, whether you’re interested in live events, whether you want online courses, we have something for you. We also have something for every budget, whether you’re a first responder or a member of the military or a student, we have discounts, we have payment plans, trust me, we put out over 1000 hours of free content a year. And we spent a tremendous amount of time at that. So if our free stuffs that good, imagine what you can experience with a weekend with us, check us out, email us at


If you want somebody else to listen to you, you want somebody else to be respectful of you when you’re speaking, well, then you need to be respectful of those areas as well. You need to be respectful that most people want to feel like they’re a part of something is that’s one of the that’s one of the most important things you can understand about human nature, and conflict. Most people just want to feel validated, and they want to feel like they’re a part of something. So if you’re exhibiting behaviors, that to them, make them feel like oh, my opinions not worthy, or I’m not seeing or this isn’t valued, you’re just going to rile them up more. Remember, we are hedonistic insecure little pleasure sacks of flesh. And I say that in that ridiculous way, a lot of times for a reason is we over embellish is how amazing the human animal is. Yes, we’re complex and cool in many ways. But when it comes to our social interactions, we are insecure, we are impatient, we are unskilled. And we’ve got to work on those things. Because poor communication and poor interaction can cost you your reputation, your relationships, and results. So you just have to be aware of those factors. And that’s why we’re going over these root causes. You need to be the model and the change that you want to see them utilize with you. So that’s seeking to understand that’s modeling appropriate behavior that setting ground rules, all that wrong ways. We mentioned one, don’t ignore the problem. don’t retaliate with aggression. If they interrupted you don’t start interrupting them. That’s just annoying, right? The presidential debates are, are on just at the time of this recording when was just and when people just interrupt one another, they all just look stupid. They all look dumb. They all look dumb. And and that’s a tough thing to manage on this podcast, by the way, we try to have organic conversations. But sometimes I might have to interrupt a guest. Because I have to consider you the listener. And I have to think, okay, is this guest going on a tangent, now I have to wait it out. Sometimes that tangent goes someplace where there’s gold. Other times, I kind of have to steer that. Because we don’t do a four hour podcast, we do a quick we do one hour. And I have to manage a lot of expectations Yours mine, their’s I have to make sure that they feel heard, validated that they get comfortable. I have to keep you in mind because you’re driving or doing and you’re listening. You’re gifting us your time. So I have to ask questions on behalf of you. So sometimes those interruptions are purposeful, and you’ve got to steer it. But if somebody gets mad, and I always try to do this on the podcast, I’ll hedge that. I’ll say, Hey, I’m so sorry to interrupt. But you’re touching on something really interesting here. I’m so sorry to interrupt and Pardon my ignorance. But can you elaborate on this, I’ll also have to interrupt sometimes. And maybe you’ve seen this, when I have a guest on and they use jargon. Or we have a guest we recorded an episode and a guest started going on in a helpful way about a certain individual. Well, our listeners are comprised of folks in the business world, the medical world, the finance world, the strength and conditioning world, the physical therapy world, and sometimes you’ll get somebody that’s a guest from a certain area. And they forget if they mentioned William Wallace, they think everybody knows who that is. So I have to be like, hey, and by the way, sorry to interrupt. If you don’t know who William Wallace is. Right. He spearheaded Longshanks and was played by Mel Gibson. Jokes aside, there are times where those interruptions are purposeful, so you don’t want to publicly shame or embarrass, or retaliate with aggression. And you certainly don’t want to assume malicious intent. 


Okay, so, on that section, in conclusion, the psychology of interrupting is very multifaceted. There’s a lot of underlying motivations. So addressing it requires a fairly nuanced and strategic approach that really takes into consideration the root cause. The multifaceted root cause, mind you and emphasizes really just respect compassion, a mix of assertiveness. And you just being able to work around that. And it’s tricky. So now just to spotlight another section, and this will reinforce some things we’ve talked about, I think it’s important though, let’s say you ask, well, what are other times where it might be appropriate to interrupt? Right at what are what are other contexts and I mentioned the situational context of me as a podcast host, I will have to interrupt my guests sometimes, because we’ve got to stay on on point. And I know I need to get you guys some tidbits. But I also want to make sure they feel comfortable. It’s hard that you normally people, by the way, as a brief aside, that I talked to in real life, and then they come on the podcast, and they kind of clam up. That’s very common. So some of you just think about this, because I know it’s easy to listen to a podcast, I’m like, oh, that person sucks, or Brett sucks, or this person sucks. Careful. Now, if you’ve never had to get in front of a microphone, and express ideas, that the whole world can now judge than though it’s it’s out there now. And you haven’t had to kind of think about things in different ways and self disclose. You want to be careful, because it’s not always easy. So let’s give, we’re going to address other times where interruption is appropriate or necessary. And we’re going to do it by talking about the situation. And so I’ll give a little bit of context and an example. So one is obviously emergencies or safety concerns, if there is immediate danger or emergency. Interrupt, right. That’s not only acceptable, but required. And you think that’s a dumb moment. I’ll tell you, there are a lot of circumstances where you can read about how somebody didn’t, didn’t go in and say, Hey, there’s an issue with this. There’s an issue with that. There have been issues with nuclear reactors. There’s a famous Korean airline case where a copilot didn’t interject or corrected the pilot due to some cultural context. And the plane ended up crashing, there are so many situations where an emergency was eminent, but somebody did not bring it to the forefront because of Oh, this isn’t acceptable, or I’m nobody in this. And I don’t want to be looked at as stupid. Maybe it’s a false alarm. Ah, it’s always better in the case of emergencies or possible safety concerns, just it’s better to err on the side of being wrong. Right, but interrupt. So if somebody is describing a lengthy process during a meeting, and you notice a fire in the building, yeah. Interrupt to them. Okay, if right now, my wife is outside of the door, and there’s an issue in our house, or something she needs for me. I mean, it could be as simple as a contractor’s here, and she needs my credit card. But hey, I didn’t want to interrupt you. So I rescheduled? Well, now, all of a sudden, she might have rescheduled for three weeks from now. And it’s an issue that needs to be clarified and address now. 


All right, another one, during this understanding is something that’s is being said, that literally is factually incorrect, in the sense that it could lead to significant confusion or misunderstanding. All right, timely interruption could be warranted. Now. As I mentioned earlier, there are times where somebody will state something in perfectly or inaccurately, and it could even be me. But in this case, on the podcast, or during one of our events or anything, it doesn’t pay for me to interrupt like you’re not trying to I as I talked about, in my book, conscious coaching, somebody that is so obsessed about the smallest details, and they’re so obsessed with accuracy, especially in times where it doesn’t matter that they interrupt and whatever. Then the example I give in conscious coaching is, you know, one time somebody asked me, oh, how long were you out there with your friend? What did you do? I was like, Oh, we got back at around 145. And then And then somebody chipped in, it was like, Well, I was really more like two. And I was like, Thanks, because that made a huge difference, right? There wasn’t, I was not trying to conceal something. This is different. If somebody is spreading false health information, or safety information, or whatever, but there are plenty of times where somebody might use a term on the podcast, and I have to wait. I’m like, Alright, is it worth asking them to clarify that or did they use that incorrectly? Or should I say no? And believe it or not, we’ve had people reach out about that, hey, your guest said this, and you didn’t correct them? Oh, yeah, it’s given take, right? If it’s something that is tremendously again, it could lead to significant confusion or misunderstanding or health issues or something like that. I’m gonna interrupt but it’s not my job to be, you know, the corrector of everybody. That’s just not appropriate. So, anyway, in a classroom setting, too, we have a lot of teachers that listen if a student’s presenting incorrect information that could confuse others. Great. It’s a teacher’s place interrupt, correct that mistake in a positive way.


Another one time constraints. And I know this is tricky, in situation Time is limited and somebody is going off topic speaking at length without allowing others to contribute, which we talked about is orchestration, good orchestration is when really people, there’s a flow, there’s a relevance, there’s a synchrony. And also just personalization, being able to give people their time to speak. But if somebody’s not being able to contribute, or they’re not able to just get their thoughts out, and somebody’s dominant and interruption may be necessary. And think about this, if you’re on a panel, you ask somebody a question, somebody’s going long, and it’s great. But you might have to just say, Hey, thanks, Vivica. These are all great points. And we’ll definitely allow you guys to be able to expand on this after but I want to give some other folks that turn to weigh in as well. Great. During that panel discussion with strict time limits, you need to moderate that and you need to make sure everybody’s got an opportunity to speak. So cultural considerations, any of those pieces? 


Now, let’s also you mentioned culture, let’s say you say Brett, you mentioned culture a lot. Well, yeah, different cultures have various norms regarding communication. And some of you, this is where I really struggle with the way that we learned today. To some of you this may seem boring yet, then you’re gonna go lead a multicultural team, or you’re coaching an athlete or individual that’s from another culture. And you’re not aware of this. And you might turn me off so you can hear the next podcast about biohacking and read when you know what infrared saunas and whatever, yet your personal relationships are shit, because you’re not paying attention or professional relationships, this stuff. So I’m going to give, I’m going to expand on some differences amongst various cultures. And this is going to be broad, because this could be a topic in and of itself. Let’s look at and of course, there’s always variances here. So you don’t need to call up and say you’re wrong. I’m from Darwin. And this isn’t how we do this. I’m just talking broadly, in the United States and Western Europe, interruptions are often viewed as impolite, they can signify a lack of respect or interest in what the other person is saying. But as we talked about, from an exception standpoint, in some business or debate settings, interruptions might be more accepted as a sign of engagement or assertiveness or anything. Now let’s analyze Latin American cultures. And remember, this is not in a vacuum cultures are not monolithic. There’s subcultures, all of that. But let’s look at Brazil or Mexico. In some instances, conversations tend to be more fluid. And by the way, you also tend to see these cultural variances in terms of time as well. You go to Britain, or the UK, if a meeting starts at 10am, it’s gonna start on 10am. If you’ve ever been to Brazil, you know that there’s some different timing things here, a meeting might start 10 minutes after or the hour, 30 minutes after the hour even. But let’s just keep it on conversation, sorry. Conversations tend to be more fluid, there can be overlapping speech. And sometimes interruptions are seen more as compared to what compared to American culture, aside of enthusiasm, and engagement. So of course, there’s exceptions as well, formal settings, even if you’re in Brazil, might still require more structured turn taking duh remember, none of this is black and white, let’s say and we had somebody reach out the other day, and they were talking about Middle Eastern cultures. So this person was Lebanese, I had a driver when I went out and spoke at an event recently that was from Egypt. We were talking about these things. This is why I love doing this because, you know, do some research. And then guess what I talked to real people about this people that are from these areas. Yeah, interruptions can be more common. And also seen as a sign of participation and interest in the conversation. I can’t tell you the amount of times when talking to this cab driver or sorry, Uber driver from Egypt, how many times he’d interjected. And we were both just fired up about the conversation. We were having fun. And and he would even just I know you can’t see me unless you’re watching on YouTube. But I’d be saying something, and he’d get his finger wagging. And he’d be like nodding his head and trying to get in and I’m like, Hey, I don’t just let me finish, exceptions. 


Well, we’ve talked about business context, formal context, what about respect for elders? Or those in positions of authority? And I remember asking him, I said, Hey, you know, you have a lot of conversations with folks in here. You What are some variances you see, what are some things that you do? And he’s like, oh, you know, I just love talking to people and I know I can interrupt, but I never do that with elders. Never somebody older than me. And I’m like, really? Why? And he’s, that’s just That’s my belief. That’s my culture. And even if it wasn’t my culture, it’s my belief. Oh, okay. And that’s what I mean by there’s local culture, all of that. Well, what about East Asian cultures? Japan, South Korea. This doesn’t take many of you know this. Many East Asian cultures or farther like East Asian cultures, they really value patience, listening, they definitely perceive not only interruptions, but a lot of speaking as highly disrespectful. Now to go back to the gentleman, the Egyptian Uber driver. This is also heightened when speaking with somebody of a higher status or age. Now, close relationships and informal settings might allow for more relaxing conversational norms. But a lot of those East Asian cultures really want listening, patience, less is more slower speech, so on and so forth. So already seeing so many of the contextual variables at play here, higher status, age, cultural representations, temporal constraints, I’ll give a couple more because you can get into subcontinent like India, you know, India, Pakistan, Southern European, Italy, Spain, I am going to touch on Italy and Spain. So in some contexts, those cultures might have more lively and passionate, conversational styles. Even when we went and presented in Portugal, we saw a lot of this. And so I’m not saying interruptions are necessarily seen as, rude or unnecessary. But it’s like, no, this person is engaged, they’re passionate or locked in. And a lot of times, that’s, how I take stuff, especially when I’m teaching if somebody, I would much rather have somebody waving their hand and, ready to engage than somebody just sitting there falling asleep. So you see, a lot of these things here. No matter whether we go into sub continents or anything like that. There’s always exceptions, formal business settings, in formal settings, your history with somebody, I’d like to think that my staff is more forgiving of me. Because on the whole, right, they know, I respect them and value them. But I have constraints on my time. And vice versa. I don’t always expect them to be perfect. Okay. 


Let’s get into some other helpful tips and things that I just don’t think covered off and and then we’ll wrap it up and get you on your way. All right. Well, we had somebody wants say, Well, what about gender dynamics in interruptions, and this is another very slippery slope. So remember, anything I give you here is a combination of research, anecdotal evidence, my opinion, but I can’t cover everything. There are some studies that have shown though, that women are often interrupted more than men. And understanding that dynamic. If you’re like, Well, why is that I mean, how much time you got, how much time you got. And then we also have to go into cultural variances of that as well and historical perceptions. And it’s, hard for me to do that, because everybody in our business is, women. But understanding this dynamic can just really help in addressing some of those interruptions more, it’s just a time for you to say, Hey, do I do that. And if you do do that, making sure that you’ve kind of cleared the air there. You want to encourage equal participation, you want to be mindful of any kind of gender bias that might be occurring. And maybe it’s the other way, you might say, Well, I’m extraordinarily, let’s say you’re a male, I’m extraordinarily deferential to women. And I’m actually more likely than not great. That’s, that’s your example. But that’s still an example of gender bias. Right? So you just want to think about that. All I’m asking you to think is, do you do this more often? In what settings? I mean, it might even just be like, oh, yeah, the women in my family or the men, in my company, whatever. Just be aware of that. That’s what so much of our content is, I’m trying to give you a mirror. And in doing so I get myself a mirror of thinking, do I do this? Do I do this? Utilizing nonverbal cues? When I did research for this show, I thought about or I do I want to go into nonverbal. Of course, there can be things if you nonverbal cues, like hand gestures, like just raising a finger or maintaining an open posture might signal that you’re not done speaking, hey, just one moment, one moment, and then I’ll get to you, or you know, even just a hand that looks like stop, or I will literally just point at somebody sometimes and nod my head like I see You were good.


But you can think about different nonverbal cues, consider that one thing I’m not really big on, it’s cool. If you are I just think I’m biased, I had a bad taste in my mouth, because we try to be so anti cheesy self helpy there are some I had when spoke for an organization that literally use like a Talking Stick, right or symbolic object like a pen or a small stick and that whoever’s holding that can speak, I think that’s fine if you really have a big problem, because some people just need that visual reminder. But oftentimes we have that person speaking is in the front of the room or the head of a table or just I mean, listen, you know, you’re you’re seeing them, and you’re seeing other people watching them and like do we really need a Talking Stick? But I want to mention it because sometimes we skip over some things on the show. And then people want to know why. Right? Let’s talk on two more things. Especially leveraging with like technology and virtual meetings, because that can really be tough. That can really be tough to manage interruptions there and that’s why there’s things like the raise hand feature. Also trick team, I don’t always see that when somebody is raising their hand, we have a Business Mastermind. And we can have 13 people on a call or 20 on a call. And that can be tough from a visual tracking standpoint. So I still think that even then it pays to just almost like just raise your hand, make it impossible for people not to see you. If I had my way we would create conversational analysis software that would literally just almost like pop up video. I’m aging myself here. But in pop up video used to be you could watch music videos, and a little speaking bubble would pop up. It’d be like this band recorded this in the garage. Or, you know, Dave Grohl drank 38 cokes a day when he made this on. I would love to have like, little bubbles or things that say, Hey, let’s say you’re speaking, hey, Vanessa, don’t forget to scan the room and see if anybody’s raising their hand cool. By the way, if you’re somebody that’s highly techie, reach out to us, we have some really awesome ideas. I think, of course, I’m biased, and probably some really bad ideas as well, of some technological solutions. We’d like to integrate with a lot of the research I’ve done for my doctorate, and our evaluations, and we think we could create some pretty cool stuff, you know, and then just remember, at the end of the day, some of this comes down to things as broad and seemingly pseudo sciency as different personality types and communication styles. And by the way, there is nothing pseudoscience about communication styles, I welcome that criticism. And I’m not saying this to egg people on I’m just being assertive and upfront. My next book that comes out next fall, if you’re interested, by the way, go to We’re going to talk a lot about communication styles. We’re going to talk a lot about tendencies and drives and motivations and human nature. We’re going to talk a lot about how to, you know and discern what how to interact with certain communication styles. What, what is the cheat sheet? What is the Codex, like, if I’m interacting with somebody that, you know, tends to express themselves like this, what are different listening strategies, I can employ different persuasive techniques I can employ. So if you really are somebody that I call it being a locksmith for people, if that is something that you’re interested in, and it should be if you’re in leadership, coaching, teaching, whatever, go to, I think that you’ll like it, it’s not going to be a perfect book, but I’m working my ass off on it. But you do need to just tailor that approach to folks. 


So, you know, again, concluding this. A lot of hopefully, that integrating a lot of these insights and practical tips will help you you have to remember gender dynamics, technological solutions, nonverbal, any of these things, the recognition of conversational styles, all of that, what else did we talk about? Of course, just be creative, meta, communicate, set, expectations, manage technological challenges, make sure that you are synchronized, as you can be recognized, there’s always going to be some form of multitasking distraction. one last question. Somebody said when is interruption going to be at an all time high? I could choose a lot of things here. But during COVID You saw that because there’s something called the McGurk effect. Okay McGurk effect, is a really fascinating phenomenon. In perceptual psychology. Yes, that’s a real field that illustrates how what we see can override what we hear. And so if you think about this, when people were wearing masks, that you couldn’t see their mouth moving. And so it was harder to interpret some things that they were saying, especially I just remember even returning stuff at Costco, it was very, it was very hard because of the ambient noise. And we were running workshops, and some folks chose to wear masks. And we would try, it just became very hard to how do I phrase this, it became harder to interact because of the impediment of a lot of those visual cues, and auditory cues, right. And by the way, it doesn’t have to be maths, if you have bad internet, and there’s a lag between the audio and video and a virtual meeting, that can create confusion similar to the McGurk effect, where there’s a mismatch between what’s seen and heard, and that interaction and that’s why we always tell people, hey, try to check your internet connection. I mean, we live out in the boonies. Now in Phoenix, I have to hardwire I can’t use Wi Fi. I have to hardwire these things in to make sure that it’s stable. And just remember, whenever you can, even if you’re just if you’re managing remote teams, this is why it’s always better if you can don’t rely on things like email, the fewer visual cues. And the fewer auditory cues you have, the higher the likelihood of misunderstanding. I’m gonna say this again. If you’re like, Well, how do I know what should be on email or text or phone call or this or in person? Whether you’re managing remote teams or just general interaction, the fewer visual cues and the fewer auditory cues that a medium has, the weaker it is, the less context rich it is, the more likely you are going to have misunderstandings. People there’s social presence, there’s a warmth element to hearing this person’s tone to seeing their facial expressions. And so many misunderstandings can be cleared up or prevented through the utilization of the correct medium. And I acknowledge this is hard. I’m working with an editor on my next book, right now he prefers email drives me batshit crazy. And by the way, and a little poke at all you literary types. There is something in this world about certain people that just like, why do you want email all the time? Now, granted, there are some times that, you know, I might reach out and say, Hey, what’s your number? You’ve asked a question that is fairly complex. And it’s just, I can discuss it with you in five minutes. And that’s going to be eight paragraphs, even if I prioritize my message and, try to whittle this down. I understand that some people might be like, well I don’t know are you going to call me like day and night? Are you going to text me, I don’t want that distraction. But folks, I love you, and I respect you. But if you are just an email person, then you invite more miscommunication or possible poor interactions, it’s much better if you just say, hey, we can talk over the phone. But at this time, and you know, I usually reserved this day for phone calls, or whatever. But man, we have got to get, cuz there are links between passive aggressiveness and avoidance behaviors, and those that tend to like email or text, and not prefer context rich communication, and I’m not throwing stones at all of you. There are certain times where it’s just better that I get it, you know, and we talked about that, in other episodes, we’re not gonna get into that. But there are potential miscommunication increases. In text only settings, audio only settings, if you can get audio, video, all those things in an ideal world, right, we’d all have that kind of closed captioning, where you get audio video, and closed captioning. Right now you’ve got a lot, a lot of, information there that can help with clear articulation, confirming, understanding, or even summarizing, okay, there’s a lot here, we could definitely go deeper overall. To summarize, you know, it go back, remember, we kind of introduced the topic, we talked about some root causes, right and wrong ways. Some examples, they handle miscommunication. We talked about different cultural contexts, gender dynamics, nonverbal cues, different types of active listening, and also addressing any kind of impediment to the audio visual field, things that can impede perception and all that. So there’s a lot here, share it with your staff, break it down, simply go in front of your group and say, Hey, listen to this podcast. Here were some things that they talked about, where have you seen these in the workplace? And how could we get better? What are your suggestions and make it work for you? 


If I can ask you one favor, please, if any of this has been helpful, even incrementally or at any level, please leave a review. These reviews are not Pat’s on the back for me and my team, their way to ensure that we don’t get buried by the NPR is of the world the Rogan’s of the world, we try really hard and this is free content that we put out, but this is our livelihood, right? So please go to Spotify, leave a review, go to Apple podcast, leave a review, if you don’t want to do that, consider sharing with a friend or family member is every episode going to be a home run hell now, right? But we put out a lot of helpful stuff. I feel confident saying that because we really care about you. And we really care about adding value to your life. And we really hate a lot of the poor quality McDonald’s like information that’s put out there about topics that don’t make people think, please. And if you’re a parent, I think my soapbox here is I Like hopefully some of you really want to be able to raise my kid in a world where people still think they go deep. They turn on themselves and think where am I the issue? We can’t raise kids in a soundbite society. We can’t raise happy kids in a society where everybody wants to hack. Everybody wants a quick answer, and nobody wants to do the work. I’m sorry, I’m not trying to be preachy. I know if you ever have a choice between being a storyteller and a preacher, you want to be a storyteller, but there’s some times just to call it what it is, and speak the truth. So hope this helps. If it does, send it share it. We appreciate you. And we’d love to hear more about what you’d want to reach out to us at That is a place where you can set questions you can submit requests. We keep all that private. We’ll never use your full name. We value talk to you soon, folks.

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