I have a confession to make. I am terrible at not interrupting people when we talk. I know it is not right, and it can even be rude, but I still find myself starting to talk before the other person is done expressing their thought far more often than I should. Maybe it is because I am afraid I will lose the thought in my head, or because, in my mind, I already know where their sentence is going, but the reason I feel the need to interrupt doesn’t matter. It is just plain wrong!
One way I am working on my tendency to interrupt is to focus on being present in every conversation, and to really listen to the words the other person speaks, rather than completing their thought for them just so I can offer “my two cents.” I am learning that by truly being present and being invested in what the other person is actually saying, as opposed to just waiting for them to finish, I can have a much deeper and meaningful conversation. It seems, in much of our society, listening is becoming a lost art. Social media, and our fast paced, multi-tasking world, does not facilitate a posture of slowing down and listening.
In a compliance program, one of the most valuable tools is the ability to listen and connect with the person bringing forth a concern. When an employee works up the courage to call the compliance hotline, if the voice on the other end continually interrupts them, the employee will not feel respected, and likely will grow frustrated with the inability to tell their story. If, during an investigation, the interviewer repeatedly interrupts the answers being given by the interviewee, that person will discount the sincerity of the interviewer, and hence, the validity of the investigation. When the validity of an investigation is questioned, the effectiveness of the compliance program suffers.
So, I am going to continue to work on my tendency to interrupt, and if we are ever in a conversation and I interrupt you before you are done, you have permission to call me on it. In the meantime, consider ways to improve your compliance program by ensuring that all people have space to fully communicate any concerns they may have.