Constantly interrupted at work

Hi ladies, I've always struggled with being interrupted when speaking up in meetings or sharing ideas at work. It seems to have gotten a lot worse lately now that we're back to mostly in-person meetings. I will be mid-sentence and someone will just completely and blatantly interrupt me. I nearly walked out of a marketing session last week because it happened every time I spoke. Most of the people interrupting are men, but some are women, too, and it really bothers me. I've tried to just keep talking when they do this, but I'm still ignored and the result is just chaotic. I've also tried calling out my interrupters ("I'm not finished, can I please finish this thought," etc) and I'm still ignored. I'm somewhat soft spoken but I don't think this is a volume issue and I worry that it signals a deeper problem in my company's culture. I'm about 8 months in to a director role where I'm 15-20+ years younger than many of the people I am working with. Any tips on how to overcome this??

First of all, this can just be a company culture thing. I was trained in a culture of interrupting where everything was fast-paced and you had to learn to interrupt in order to be respected.However, I'm curious about the purpose of these meetings. Is it necessary to meet to get a consensus? Are these meetings cross-functional, or are they about execution within one team? Could you cancel more of these meetings and replace them with 1-on-1 conversations or smaller meetings? Or if not, could you have 1-on-1 conversations in advance with key stakeholders to prep them on your perspectives so that you can build consensus and steer the conversation better once a larger group is meeting?Also, are these meetings truly collaborative, or is there a hierarchy? You say you are in a director role but are 15-20 years younger than your colleagues. Is your "director" role senior to them, or are you still "below" them in the org chart? Unfortunately this could have a big impact on your expected role in meetings.Finally, another attitude you could take would be to be totally silent in meetings, forcing your colleagues to quiet down once they need your perspective. If you have important contributions that only YOU can make, they should eventually realize that they are being childish and will need to behave better in order to get what they need from you.
This is helpful, thanks!
LiaODonnell's profile thumbnail
“I’m still speaking.”“Excuse me Bob, I wasn’t finished, could you please hold your thought until I’ve finished mine?”And the tactic of simply continuing on no matter what and looking directly into the eyes of the primary person you’re speaking to. I’ve seen all of these approaches used successfully in different contexts. Is anyone else in the room noticing what’s happening or is there anyone you suspect might be tuned in? You could pull them aside and ask with genuine curiosity for their take on whether they noticed it happening. Sometimes all of it takes is a small conversation to build support.
iynna's profile thumbnail
Agreed except for one, I'd remove the excuse me :-)