3 Great Ways to Discourage Interrupters
We all hate those pesky interrupters — the people who are constantly stopping by your desk “just to chat” or to “give you a quick update” that seems to last forever. You have work to do and deadlines to meet! But how do you turn them away without being designated the department grump?
If you have an office, change the position of furniture!
Create a separate meeting space that you move to when you have people who you’ve invited in ... but don’t leave a chair with easy access to your desk. Don’t keep extra chairs in a cubicle, or keep a few files or a stack of paper on them. Try facing your desk away from the door, or keeping the door partially closed to subtly discourage interruptions. Sometimes, all you need to do is avoid eye contact!
Identify escape routes and methods.
It’s not just a good idea in case of a fire! When someone stops by that you know is a chronic talker, be ready with an excuse to walk the person away. You need a new cup of coffee or were just about to drop off a file at somebody else’s desk. Ask the talker to walk with you, and then discretely steer the person back to his or her own space.
Be direct with those who can’t take a hint.
It can be hard to do — we’re conditioned against seeming rude — but telling coworkers you absolutely have to get a project done and if they could just email you the details, you’d love to schedule a meeting is sometimes the best option. Or grab lunch, meet at a break, or even after work. If you tell them you have to stay late for the project but would love to talk on the way out ... you won’t be surprised to find you’re walking out of the building by yourself.
What do you do to discourage people from interrupting you at work?
The information in this article came from National Seminars and STAR12’s Essential Time Management & Organization Skills training. Sign up for this course or one of our other great training sessions at NationalSeminarsTraining.com today!
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Avoiding eye contact is key for me. If you do not look up as you notice someone walking by, who usually speaks or stops to talk, just pick up your phone to place a call or key away on your computer. This is helpful, especially if you have a project or deadline to meet.
With chronic chatters, I find it works to say, "It's been really nice talking, but I'm afraid I have a lot of work that needs my attention. I'll see you later!" So far, that technique is working for me.
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