The Art of the Productive & Energizing Interruption

Whether you work in a cubicle, a co-working space, in a home office, or even at your kitchen table,  one of the fine arts you need to master if you are to become a true ninja-level Intentional Networker is that of the Positive Interruption.  Why?  Because we humans all need a little break now and then. A short and energizing respite from the routine or work has been proven to impact us in positive ways.  And despite our busy-ness, we need to stay connected to each other.

But before I reveal to you a few ideas for interrupting others positively, let’s review some interruptions that are not so positive. The kind that suck the life energy out of those you interrupt and feel like raggedy nails across a chalkboard. The kind that will drive people crazy and have a less-than-positive effect on your brand, image and reputation. 

Negative Interruptions

  • A quick chat that morphs into an endless and exhausting monologue (I experienced a phone call like this recently. I have since blocked the number.)
  • Similarly, taking 30 minutes to explain something when it could be done in 5
  • Malicious gossip or jealous comments (for some geeky enlightenment here, look up the term “spontaneous trait transference”)
  • Brain-picking (different than seeking advice!)
  • Bragging, behaving in a self-important, pompous-assy  way
  • Whining,  complaining, or chronic venting (generally about the same thing over and over again combined with never taking any action to change or improve the situation)
  • Mooching
  • Asking for (yet another) favor
  • Asking the same question (or for the same information) repeatedly

Now let’s visit a few Positive Interruptions

  • Sharing good or pertinent news (in a concise way)
  • Offering sincere congratulations or compliments
  • Sharing a victory (and thanking the other person for part they played in said victory)
  • Asking for an objective / honest opinion (and then taking appropriate action)
  • Offering to share a delicious treat
  • Bringing someone coffee or their favorite beverage as a surprise 
  • Expressing gratitude or appreciation
  • Offering assistance
  • Sharing innovative, helpful ideas 

See the difference?  Now go back over the times you’ve recently interrupted others and note where you’ve fumbled or where you’ve done well. What are your pet peeves about interruptions? Perhaps you have thoughts on what you see as a positive and welcome interruption. Please share those thoughts here. I’d love to hear about them.  (Who knows? Your idea – and you – may be featured in my next book!)
I’m building my speaking / consulting schedule for 2017.  Send me an email at Patti[at]IntentionalNetworker[dot]com if it’s  time for us to chat about how my presentations,  workshops, coaching and consulting can bring high value to you, your event, or your organization.


3 Responses to The Art of the Productive & Energizing Interruption
  1. Dr Paul Jenkins
    September 16, 2016 | 4:39 pm

    Patti, you are spot on! In my current position I work with a lot of high functioning and successful clients who sometimes feel picked to the bone by well-meaning, but un-savvy admirers. Your simple tips make all of the difference and change the energy to much more positive (big fan of positive) interactions. For any readers of the blog – check out page 110 in Patti’s book for a really good list describing the difference between requests for advice (honoring) and brain-picking (mooching and kind of disgusting). Thank you for your astute contributions!

  2. Dawn Lund
    September 14, 2017 | 7:24 am

    I like people who talk a lot and can carry on a conversation. However the people who ask my opinion and 30 seconds into it they are distracted (“squirrel”) and I wonder if they were even listening to me. And then there are the people who get all the valuable info from me and give their business to someone else. When I am interrupted to clarify that means they are listening. Answering great questions are never an interruption.

    • pattid
      September 14, 2017 | 8:30 am

      Interesting thoughts, Dawn. Thanks for reading and sharing!

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