Pause Before You Speak: The Career-Saving Power of Self-Interruption

We all know that interrupting someone while they are speaking is considered impolite. As parents, we teach our children to say “Excuse me” before they join a conversation. But what about interrupting ourselves? Believe it or not, it can be a valuable skill to learn.

We all have moments where we have an immediate and strong reaction to something someone says or does. In the best case, it makes us burst out laughing. However, in the worst case, we may say or do something we later regret. We understand that emotions can sometimes get the best of us, but it’s important to remember that multiple outbursts can damage your reputation and make you appear unprofessional or unable to handle conflict.

Controlling your outbursts is crucial, and you can do this by interrupting yourself. Start by paying attention to the signs that indicate an outburst is imminent. You may feel warm, experience stomach flips, or clench your hands. You might even grit your teeth or feel like your head is about to explode. Knowing these signs allows you to practice interrupting yourself before an outburst occurs.

Interrupting yourself means taking a moment to gain control of your emotions and not responding until you feel confident that you can do so calmly and professionally. It means not storming out of the room or making inappropriate comments. It also means acknowledging that you are having an emotional reaction and taking the time to understand and process those emotions before responding.

Remember, taking 90 seconds to regain control of yourself is well worth it. If you feel uncomfortable with others waiting for your response, calmly and quietly let them know that you need a moment to reply. People will appreciate a thoughtful and well-considered response over a rash and inappropriate one.

Interrupting yourself is a valuable skill that can help you maintain your professionalism and control your emotions in any situation.


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