Stop Interrupting My Performance!

A common question we get in training programs is "How do I get other people to stop interrupting me?" If the performers in your circus are breaking up your acts on a regular basis, try these strategies to help stay focused:

  • Clarify the interruptions. When someone says, "Do you have a minute?" give them a specified amount of time that you do have, or say "Not right now. Let's set up a time later to give it the attention your issue deserves." Then, set up a time to meet with them that works better in YOUR lineup. This does not apply in cases of emergency, of course.

  • Determine the reasons for the interruptions. Is it because they have incomplete information? Lack of knowledge about processes/procedures? Boredom/Procrastination on their part OR yours?

  • Be less available/Have something else to do. If they are physically in front of you, use body language to signal that you need to end the conversation. Give a point in time when you can assist them (after I finish this report). Don't respond immediately to e mail (unless required by your supervisor or work team). That's a clear signal that you are fully available.

Remember, you're the Ringmaster of your circus. You have to keep the focus on the right act in the right ring at the right moment.