Today in our coaching call the topic was “how can I get people to stop interrupting me with questions and forcing me to go in a highly technical explanation because it just loses everyone.”  It is a great topic for us to cover quickly here together.

First let’s look at why that happens:

1. This happens when you make a statement in your opening of the conversation and then pause-especially if the statement is one that delivers bad news.  The first thing people will do with the pause is try to quiet the “panic” you just caused in their brain.  The way they will try to “quiet” this panic is to get all the details they can about “why” this happened.  This causes them to start hounding you with questions.

2. This leads to the next problem-as you jump to answer questions your answers now are all out of context and won’t be heard properly.  This causes more brain panic and you spiral in to a tough conversation that confuses and loses people.

How to avoid this:

1. After your statement don’t pause.  Instead let the group clearly know the Roadmap of the discussion so they know what you will be covering.  This causes their brain to quiet down and just listen.  It feels like you see the problem but you also have a clear solution so it builds confidence.

2. If you can give a quick analogy that aligns and makes a more complex discussion easier to digest.

Imagine you have a project that you have funding for but due to resource availability you will not be able to meet the deadline and need to extend it.  You may use an analogy that says, “We essentially have the race car built but we need to engine in order for it to run.  The engine in this case is the resources to get it up and working.  I am going to share with you why we are having a resource problem, what we are doing about it and what I recommend as next steps.”

Notice how that makes it easier to digest and makes it  easy to quiet your brain to hear ALL the information before you jump in to interrupt.

Learn more about strategic communication.