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What is a good polite way to handle being interrupted while talking in a group and regain focus, interest, and conversational confidence from the others?

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    I found seeing "How to handle being interrupted [on hold]" on the topic list to be kind of humorous, in a way. Sorry about that. Jan 17, 2018 at 15:12
  • OP, could you narrow down a 'target audience', or give us some more details - maybe a specific scenario - on the times this happens to you?
    – Jess K.
    Jan 17, 2018 at 20:17

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That depends on the type of interruption.

When you have an interruption due to a question you should answer that question and continue.

If it is an interruption which contributes to your topic it is possibly because the others want to show interest. Say something to connect to that. "That’s why I brought it up."

If it an unrelated interruption it is important to pick up the topic again keeping your intonation friendly but expressive. "I’m not quite finished yet".

Neutral Phrases to continue:

Getting back to what I was saying… Where was I?

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  • I think you're right that there are several circumstances to consider here, but how could you know which applies? Are you suggesting you let the interrupter finish every time?
    – polar
    Jan 17, 2018 at 18:20
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I think it may depend on several factors :

  • Did the interrupter do it to bring another related point/share its experience related to what you're talking about ? If so, you'd better use that at your advantage to enrich your opinion on the topic. You can also thank the interrupter, while actually informing them that interrupting someone is rude :

I was exactly going to talk about that after my current point, thanks for bringing it up. Now for what I was saying ...

  • If the interrupting person's sayings aren't related to your point, do you have the feeling that they interrupted you knowingly ? If so, my best advice would be to do it non-aggressively :

Hey, you mind if I finish my story first ? I'm sure you'll be able to take up on what I've said afterwards !

  • If you think that they didn't do it voluntarily, chances are they're not even realising they're being rude. Turn it into a joke. This way people will laugh it off, but still realize it was rude and inappropriate

Hey, I was actually telling something. Am I this boring ?

  • Do you actually had the attention of people when you were talking ? If so, use it to your advantage. A simple eye-contact exchange with someone who was listening to you can be enough to create a funny situation. At best, the interrupter will overhear you and stop talking. At worst, you can still finish your story with the people who actually were listening from the beginning.

addressed to a specific person who kept on listening : well, it seems like [person] isn't that interested so I'll just finish this with you : [end of the story]

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I normally interrupt back immediately with

Err... wait... sorry... let me finish this one first.

Interrupting the interrupter makes the interrupter feel the same as you did; also, in that example I used a non-aggressive and polite terms like "sorry" and "LET me finish [...]" (rather than "I WANT to finish [...]")

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    Keep in mind, just because you used "non-aggressive and polite terms" certainly does not make the entire interaction non-aggressive and polite. You are still interrupting someone with the intention of making them feel bad. To your credit this probably works, and is at least better than "I want", which is appalling etiquette.
    – Jesse
    Jan 17, 2018 at 9:43
  • @Jesse keep in mind that this person has ALREADY made ME feel bad. As I said in the answer, whatever this person feels is the SAME I've already felt, therefore he/she could not blame me for "rudeness/aggressiveness" without blaming him/herself too: at that point, his/her best option - if we're speaking about a normally polite, kind and fair person - would be quit insisting - once realizing he/she entered a peer-to-peer battle where all peers have the same blame - and let me finish.
    – Markino
    Jan 17, 2018 at 11:22

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