How can I interrupt without being rude?

Have you ever tried to say something in a conversation but couldn’t?

Maybe the other speaker didn’t stop talking? Maybe the topic changed too quickly?

Joining a conversation can be difficult, especially if there is more than one other speaker. Sometimes you need to say something to interrupt other speakers. But this can sometimes be rude.

One idea is to start speaking when there is a short silence or gap in the conversation. Then you don’t have to interrupt. It’s also a good idea to start by reacting to what the other speaker is saying. For example, say ‘Really?’ or ‘That’s interesting.’ Remember to try to make what you say next related to the conversation topic.

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Another idea is use body language when you want to start speaking. Maybe there is no silence or gap in the conversation. Maybe the speaker doesn’t stop. Then try using body language to tell the speaker you want to say something. Try looking at the speaker more. Try turning or raising one hand up a little (like in the picture above).

Maybe the ideas above don’t work. Maybe you have to interrupt the speaker. Be careful not to be rude. Try to use phrases to make your interruption less direct. For example, smile and say ‘Sorry, can I just say something…?’ Or, if it’s something more urgent, ‘Sorry to interrupt but…’ or ‘Excuse me…’

Extra tip:  Sometimes speakers might interrupt you when you’re speaking. But maybe you’re not finished speaking. Then try using body language to tell the other speaker you want to continue. Here you can also try raising one hand up a little. This will tell the other speaker to wait. Maybe, they don’t stop interrupting. Then try saying ‘Sorry, just let me finish.’

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