Don’t Pardon the Interruption (“Can I Finish?”)
I’m about 65% on the way to success with my efforts to change channels with the morning and evening cable news shows when the interrupting and talking over each other criminal acts are not arrested after 10 seconds.
I finally realized those talking heads are ridiculous, their offenses are ridiculous and that I am equally ridiculous for tolerating it.
As one who interviews artists like you, I have experienced the disasters that occurred when I interrupted my guest mid-sentence. I cut them off just before they said something compelling, or we were talking at the same time as they revealed something revelatory.
But you the interviewee have the ultimate power when you’re being interviewed by the “Interrupter Interviewer.”
First, a reality check: are your answers compelling, interesting, focused, concise and specific? Are you rambling? Do you speak “audience language,” or do you use insider, industry jargon? Exactly what is Sonata Allegro form? I’m a former musician, and I have very little idea about what it means to be in “D Major.”
The “Interrupter Interviewer” may be trying to save you and the interview by guiding you towards something that is more relevant to your-their audience. If you’re not sure about your interview performance, let’s talk about how you can better tell your story. (link to crush the interview)
But, back to the other reality. When you find yourself being interrupted in the middle of making salient points in a concise manner, here is your strategy.
All interviewers, and especially radio interviewers, fear silence. When you go quiet, they freak out. They will either talk even longer, or they will get the hint, shut up and let you speak.
At the end of each interruption, smile externally and internally and then remain quiet.
Eventually, they will get the point.
If not, politely ask if you can have a chance to give and complete your answer. “Can I finish?” When they say, “yes,” tell your story.
When they hear and “get” that you are a highly competent and interesting guest, they will likely lay back and let you speak. (After all, you are making them look good by being an excellent guest.”)
What motivates the “Interrupter Interviewer” to interrupt?
Insecurity…selfishness…narcissism: the interview is not about you: it’s about them showing off their vast wisdom and knowledge. They love hearing themselves speak. Who wants to compete with that?
The point of the interview is for you to be heard. In this interview situation, no one is listening, including the “Interrupter Interviewer’s” audience.
That’s why your silence is golden.
Check out the other interview types you may meet.