IS INTERRUPTING A MATTER OF STYLE? Linguist Deborah Tannen has advanced an alternative theory of interruptions. She thinks that conversational style, the pattern of taking turns in carrying a conversation, is the key to interruptions. She says in this interview with Gina Stepp: “If you talk to somebody who has a different sense of timing (pacing and pausing), then whoever is expecting the longer pause will find that they can’t get the floor. And whoever is expecting the shorter pause will find themselves doing all the talking.”
She recommends paying attention to differences in style and adjusting—counting to seven before speaking if you’re doing all the talking and pushing yourself to jump in quickly if you’re not getting a chance to talk.