Why I interrupt everyone, and why I work to balance this (high-involvement and high-considerateness in communication)

Huge thanks to DeEtta Jones: Next Level Leadership Blog for sharing this recent piece on communication styles, which explains:

The research in conversation analysis tells us that individual people fall on a spectrum between high-involvement and high-considerateness with respect to how they take turns in conversation.

People who use a high-involvement style tend toward a rapid-fire conversation style. They show they care about the discussion by driving conversation forward and limiting silence. That 200-millisecond gap? They try to keep silence even shorter than that. For these people, interrupting at the end of what someone else says is a way of engaging and displaying interest.

On the other hand, those who prefer a high-considerateness style listen first. They let pauses linger, far beyond a fifth of a second, as a way to let people finish their thoughts before they start speaking. They wait until they’re sure someone has said what they’re going to say, all of it, and wouldn’t dare interrupt before that.

I love being in high-involvement mode. I interrupt to ask questions, add praise (e.g., awesome! oh wow!), and generally try to encourage and show my interest and engagement by being involved. I also recognize the need to change my preferred communication style to support others’ needs/expectations/norms. I often communicate with lots of different folks, and folks with different styles in a single meeting. I try to talk about my (and our, as applicable) communication preferences, practices, and patterns. This is always important and helpful. And, now I can be better at this with better terminology.

Until I read this piece, I didn’t have names for my type of engagement. I’ve already had one great conversation on this (looking at you, Lisa!). I am so appreciative of this piece for giving me names/terms to be able to better discuss communication styles and preferences with others. Now, writing this to amplify and share this further!