It appeared to be an ambush worthy of the Kayne West Seal of Approval. Recently, an Academy Award winner was rudely interrupted mid-acceptance by a woman who appeared to big foot her way into his big moment. More than 41 million telecast viewers were confounded. Twitter and Facebook erupted with news of "the interrupter."
Turns out, the interrupter was no interloper. She was his co-winner. Tangled in a credit-hogging turf war, the two had raced to the stage to get in the first word. He ran a lot faster. As she burst onto the glittering platform, she hijacked the microphone and cut him off before clutching her shiny statuette.
What does this case of communication-interruptus have to do with you?
Chances are someone has rudely interrupted you in the last 24 hours, if not the last 24 minutes. Interrupting is escalating. Cutting people off and talking over them has become the new norm in our demanding, impatient, instant gratification world. The Academy Award scene is playing out everywhere - in boardrooms, meeting rooms, lunchrooms, phone calls, even on Capitol Hill. Everybody wants to get a word in edgewise.
Isn't it frustrating to be plowed over by someone who thinks the only voice worth listening to is his own? Beyond simple rudeness on the part of some communicators, I'd like to offer a few possibilities on why more people are cutting you off, how to prevent it, and how to handle those relentless, habitual interrupters.
Face it, some people are rude. But these old school interrupters are now joined by a new breed of interrupters: The Chronically Impatient. Buoyed by instant technology and addicted to speed, these pragmatic people are having a tough time tolerating long winded ramblers. The Chronically Impatient value time, clarity, and action and they want you to get to the point, pronto. If you dilly dally, they'll either nudge you with a brief interjectory question or they'll outright overpower you and butt in as if your words don't matter.
Managing interrupters is situational. The first step is to figure out why people are cutting in. Are they rude or are you inadvertently inviting interruptions? If you feel it's the other person's fault, here are a few options to handle the situation: