Excuse me. Can I finish my thought here?
I was trying to say that interruptions in business meetings are overwhelmingly committed by . . .
As I was saying . . .
Oh, never mind. Clearly your point of view is the only one that matters.
Yep, it’s the guys
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that men are more likely than women to interrupt someone in a meeting. But the numbers are truly shocking. In settings where members of both genders participate, men contribute 96% of the interruptions. That’s according to communications trainer Dianne Gardner, and it’s huge.
Half your talent isn’t heard
Gardner says these male interruptions create more than one negative result. Not only are meetings deprived of female attendees’ views, women eventually opt out of the collective process and turn to one-on-one communication. And this in turn may cause male employees to conclude women have less to contribute. And it may mean that when important decisions are being debated, managers are missing out on valuable ideas and perspectives.
These stats aren’t likely to change on their own. Managers who want to get full value from their teams will have to take proactive steps to ensure everyone’s heard. For example, they might consider these ideas:
- Save questions for the end. Instead of allowing people to interrupt a speaker, have them jot down their thoughts and raise them afterward.
- Make sure to specifically solicit the input of less assertive participants.
- When a speaker is interrupted, ask her (or him) to finish the thought.
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