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3 Techniques for Assertive Communication

Sunday, July 07, 2024

Imagine sitting in a high-stakes meeting, surrounded by key stakeholders and leaders. You're poised to share your insights, ready to demonstrate your expertise, and eager to contribute to the conversation—a vital step in elevating your career.

Yet, as you begin to express your ideas, you're cut off, interrupted before your point can land. This scenario is not only frustrating but can also impede your professional growth.

If this resonates with you, rest assured, you're not alone, and more importantly, it's not a reflection of your abilities or worth.

In this article, we'll explore practical strategies to ensure your voice is heard in meetings. We'll delve into why interruptions happen, debunking common misconceptions that it's a personal failing, and instead, focus on actionable techniques to command the room.

Why You Keep Getting Interrupted

Understanding why interruptions occur in meetings is crucial for your professional development. It's a common misconception that being interrupted is a reflection of your abilities or personality traits. You might think it's because you're shy, introverted, or lacking in knowledge, but this is not the case. Interruptions are not a personal indictment of your capabilities.

In reality, interruptions are often the result of external factors unrelated to your performance. It's essential to recognize that when someone interrupts you, it's their action that's disrupting the conversation, not a deficiency on your part. This understanding is empowering; it allows you to focus on how to handle interruptions without self-blame or assumptions about others' intentions.

The key is not to internalize the blame for someone else's choice to interrupt you. By shifting your perspective away from self-criticism and towards a more objective view of the situation, you open yourself up to share your ideas more freely. This mindset prepares you to handle potential interruptions with confidence and come out on the other side feeling empowered.

Remember, the goal is to maintain your composure and control over the conversation without taking on unnecessary blame. This approach will not only help you in the moment but also contribute to a more respectful and productive meeting environment for everyone involved.

Technique #1: Optimize Your Pace

Everyone has a natural speaking pace; some of us speak quickly, while others have a more measured speed. Recognizing and adjusting your pace is crucial, especially if you find yourself frequently interrupted in meetings. This could indicate that your natural pace may not be the most effective for the situation at hand.

A slower pace, characterized by lengthy pauses between ideas or words, might lead your audience to assume you've finished speaking or to grow impatient if they are accustomed to a faster exchange. It's essential to be aware of and responsive to your audience's reactions. Their interruptions can serve as feedback, signaling a need for you to adjust your pace.

To find your optimal pace, pay close attention to how your audience receives and responds to what you're saying. An optimal pace will keep your audience engaged, clearly indicate when you have finished speaking, and when you are still contributing. Achieving this balance can significantly reduce the likelihood of being interrupted.

Technique #2: Optimize Your Authentic Delivery

This concept goes beyond mere fluency or articulation, which are basic expectations for established professionals like executives and senior managers. Your career achievements, as reflected on your resume, are not accidents; they are the result of your ability to communicate effectively.

Authentic delivery is about conveying the core principles that have guided your success. It involves sharing the distilled wisdom you've accumulated over the years, rather than just methodologies and processes. In meetings, stakeholders are interested in the principles behind your ideas—the wisdom that has driven your career and the insights that can drive the company forward.

When you speak from a place of deep understanding and experience, your delivery becomes inherently authentic. This authenticity resonates with your audience, as it reflects the true value of your contributions.

By focusing on the essence of your knowledge and expertise, you can create and share content that holds the attention of your colleagues and ensures your voice is heard in its entirety.

Technique #3: Optimize the Redirect

Redirection is a subtle yet powerful way to reclaim your speaking turn without assigning blame or creating conflict. If someone attempts to interject, you can gracefully steer the conversation back to your point.

When you sense an impending interruption, acknowledge the other person's eagerness to contribute, affirming the value of their input. Then, politely request a brief moment to complete your thoughts.

For example, you might say, "I appreciate your enthusiasm. That's a great idea. Is it alright if I just have two more minutes to complete my thought, and then I'm happy to pass the torch back to you?"

This approach shows that you respect the other person's contribution while also asserting your need to finish speaking. By specifying the amount of time you need, you set clear expectations and make it easier for others to grant you the space to conclude your remarks.

Optimizing the redirect is about balancing assertiveness with respect. It's a skill that, when used appropriately, can enhance the flow of conversation and ensure that your ideas are heard. This technique is particularly useful when interruptions are not malicious but rather the result of miscommunication or eagerness to participate.

By redirecting the conversation back to your ideas and the outcomes you can provide, you maintain control of the dialogue and demonstrate your leadership in the conversation.

These strategies are not just about avoiding interruptions; they're about enhancing your presence and influence in critical discussions. They empower you to share your expertise confidently and ensure that your ideas are not only heard but respected and considered.

As you apply these techniques, you'll find that your contributions to meetings become more impactful, paving the way for further professional growth and success. So take these insights, apply them to your next meeting, and watch as the dynamic shifts in your favor, allowing your voice to resonate with the clarity and authority it deserves.

It's time to transition from absorbing information to taking concrete action. If you're eager to implement the concepts discussed in this article, consider joining my executive coaching program. This experience will introduce you to a robust process for personal and professional development.

My program is tailored for ambitious executives who are committed to enhancing their career satisfaction by refining their skills and capabilities. It's structured to help you harness the power of your mind, gain profound insights, enhance your ability to communicate effectively, and reignite your passion for career advancement.

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© Mastery Insights Inc. All Rights Reserved