Effective Verbal Communication: How To Prevent Interruptions

What You Say When Someone Interrupts You Mid-Sentence

By Gene Griessman, Ph.D.

Here is a simple communication technique that—with a bit of practice—you can use in media interviews, business conferences, or everyday social discussions.

This communication technique was used effectively by Harold Ford, Jr., the former Tennessee Democratic Congressman during a guest appearance on “Morning Joe” (MSNBC).   Ford was speaking, making a point, when another guest disagreed and tried to take over the discussion.

Instead of stopping or even pausing, Ford calmly said “no-no-no-no” and continued until he had finished his sentence.   Ford’s “no’s” were not harsh or aggressive or loud. Just calm, firm, and polite. The first no was loudest, and the no’s that quickly followed trailed off in volume and intensity.

It was an effective defensive verbal technique that enabled Ford to make his point. Then Ford added a stinger that gave him the opportunity to re-visit the idea if he needed to: “I do agree that your objection has some merit.”

Brilliant! The other guest was treated with respect, and dropped his objection.

You need to be pretty self-confident to pull off the no-no-no-no routine, but it can be a very effective communication tactic that you can use anytime you are interrupted before you have finished your argument.

–Gene Griessman is an internationally known keynote speaker, actor, and consultant. His video “Lincoln on Communication” is owned by thousands of corporations, libraries, and government organizations. To learn more about his presentations, contact us at 404-256-5927 or abe@mindspring.com


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