This 3-word phrase will stop people from interrupting you, says public speaking expert

This 3-word phrase will stop people from interrupting you, says public speaking expert

Getting interrupted is a fact of life and whether it happens at work or elsewhere, it's frustrating. It limits your ability to express yourself, to contribute, to shine, and to feel good about yourself.

Ultimately, if you can't speak up, you can lose out professionally and emotionally.

So how can you fight back? Silently, firmly raise your finger or hand and say this magic three-word phrase.

DON'T MISS: The ultimate guide to becoming a master communicator and public speaker

"Trevor, I'm speaking."

Of course, you can improvise — not everyone is named Trevor — but however you phrase it, it's important to say the person's name and stop them in their tracks politely and economically. No you don't, Trevor! Bam.

Handy as this phrase may be, it's important to reduce the chances that anyone will interrupt you in the first place.

Try the following tips to learn to speak in a more authoritative way at work and even at home.

3 tips for speaking in a more authoritative way

1. Come prepared

Speaking in public requires forethought. If you wish for people to listen, you need to hold their attention by telling them why they should listen before bombarding them with information.

Prior to any meeting, take a moment to write down your thoughts. Next, figure out the best way to state them. Put the takeaway up top. Tell your audience immediately why your words are important before getting into details. Never dawdle on the way to making your point.

Bad example: "I've been getting a lot of feedback about the, ah, well, just some concerns about, oh, for example, carryover, and some of the other reporting categories that are affected by the new accounting rules? Well, and also with regards to the CAPEX reporting definitions — there are just some implications in terms of we're gonna need to address the risks."

Good example: "I'm worried about the new accounting rules. We have a month to develop some new processes to meet them or we're going to face some expensive risks."

2. Get the room's attention

Public speaking is all about thinking of your audience. Maybe you converse quietly at home, in your comfort zone, but if your normal way of speaking is holding you back at work, it's time to evolve.

Practicing enunciating and speaking more intentionally by removing filler words like "um," "ah," "like," and "y'know." Also avoid upspeak — when your voice pitch rises at the end of statements, making them sound like questions.

The more commanding your speech becomes, the more valued it will be.

If your meetings are orderly, it may be enough to silently raise your finger or arm to create an opening to speak. If your meetings tend to be chaotic free-for-alls, however, you may need to stand up and deliver a firm, well-timed, "I'd like to talk."

3. If you can't win, change the rules of the game

Once the meeting is over, approach your manager, voice your concerns, and suggest some changes. Perhaps a round-robin approach might work. Insist that one speaker at a time should be heard and interruptions should not be tolerated.

Another tactic is to join forces with your colleagues and enlist their help to back each other up. Next time a Trevor interrupts, you can jump in: "Maryann was speaking, Trevor. I'd like to hear what she has to say."

If you've spent years not being heard, these steps might feel scary. Consider the practice of these ideas to be a form of therapy. Changing your behavior might cause anxiety, but the goal is to get onto a new path at work and in your personal life.

John Bowe is a speech trainer, award-winning journalist, and author of "I Have Something to Say: Mastering the Art of Public Speaking in an Age of Disconnection."  He has contributed to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, GQ, McSweeney's, This American Life, and many others. Visit his website here.

Want to be a successful, confident communicator? Take CNBC's new online course Become an Effective Communicator: Master Public Speaking. We'll teach you how to speak clearly and confidently, calm your nerves, what to say and not say, and body language techniques to make a great first impression. Preregister today and use code EARLYBIRD for an introductory discount of 30% off through July 10, 2024.

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