Handling Interruptions

All teachers and parents have had children interrupt them while they are talking or doing something important. How you handle the interruption will prompt either positive or negative feelings in the child.

If someone interrupts you while you are working on something and have that mental momentum where you are in a state of flow, take just a moment to write down some key words that later will bring you back to your thought.

If the interruption is at a lower priority than what you are engaged in, here is how to diplomatically deflect the interruption without hurting the other person’s feelings. It is a four-step process.

Start with “I WANT TO . . . .” (1st part)
“I want to talk with you about it.”

“AND I NEED TO . . . . ” (2nd part)
“And I need to finish this before I do anything else.”

Then, ask a question. (3rd part)
“Can we talk in just a few minutes?”

Acknowledge their understanding. (4th part)
“Thanks. I really appreciate your understanding.”

Notice that nowhere have you said “I can’t talk to you now,” or “You will have to come back,” or “I am right in the middle of something and you will have to wait.”

With this approach, you are not rejecting the person. Instead, you’re acknowledging the person but letting the person know that you have a need also and that you can handle the situation through mutual understanding.

1 Comment