“Sorry, but...”: Interruptions

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    Transcript: Exercise: Dialogue

    As children, most of us were taught not to interrupt when other people are speaking. But in meetings, it’s sometimes necessary to do so. You might have an important piece of missing information to add to the discussion. You might know the answer to a question that has been raised. You might need to correct wrong information. Or you might simply need to interrupt another participant who is dominating the discussion. In his latest Easy English article in Business Spotlight, Mike Hogan gives some useful tips on how to interrupt in a professional way.

    In this exercise, you will first hear a short extract from a meeting between three people. Paul, Liz and Robin are brainstorming ideas for the launch of a new range of eyeshadow aimed at young women. Listen to how they interrupt each other during the discussion.

    Paul: Of course, we must have advertising in the appropriategeeignet, passendappropriate magazines and…
    Robin: Sorry, but that’s not enough. Yes, magazines are important, but I don’t think that should be the main approachVorgehensweiseapproach. Our customers are online. And that’s where we need to put our main effort.
    Liz: Umm… If I could just to butt in (ifml.)einhaken, dazwischenplatzenbutt in here. We should do both. And have pop-up counterThekecounters in key stores that sell our products. These pop-up counters could…
    Paul: Excuse me for interrupting, Liz. Do you mean like we had for the gloss lipstick range a year ago?
    Liz: That’s it. People could try the products out, get advice and…
    Robin: Oh, hold on a secondetwa: Moment malhold on a second. Pop-up counters are great, but don’t forget the online approach. We should use our friendly bloggers to test our eyeshadow and demonstrate it. People believe other customers rather than glossy ads. It’s authentic.
    Paul: Let me just add something here. All three approaches are great and don’t conflict with one another so…
    Robin: We go with all three!
    Liz: Great!

    That was a lively discussion, wasn’t it? Paul, Liz and Robin used several phrases to interrupt each other. Listen again to the interruptions and in the following pause, repeat the sentence using the same intonation. OK?

    Robin: Sorry, but that’s not enough.
    Liz: If I could just butt in here.
    Paul: Excuse me for interrupting, Liz.
    Robin: Hold on a second.
    Paul: Let me just add something here.

    Now, let’s practise these phrases in a different way. You will hear a sentence from Paul, Liz or Robin. I’ll then give you some key words. In the pause, use these key words to form a sentence to interrupt the person who is speaking. Then you will hear the interruption used in the dialogue. OK. We’ll start.

    Paul: Of course, we must have advertising in the appropriate magazines and…
    > Use “sorry not enough”.
    Robin: Sorry, but that’s not enough.
    OK, next one.

    Robin: Our customers are online. And that’s where we need to put our main effort.
    > Use “butt in”.
    Liz: If I could just butt in here.
    Next one.

    Liz: We should do both. And have pop-up counters in key stores that sell our products. These pop-up counters could…
    > Use “excuse me”.
    Paul: Excuse me for interrupting, Liz.
    OK, next one.

    Liz: That’s it. People could try the products out, get advice and…
    > Use “hold on”.
    Robin: Hold on a second.
    Next one.

    Robin: People believe other customers rather than glossy ads. It’s authentic.
    > Use “add something”.
    Paul: Let me just add something here.

    Great, well done. Did you interrupt the speakers using the correct phrase? Remember, it’s best to try to avoid having to interrupt people. But if you do feel the need to interrupt, then be polite and respectful.

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