How to have a good conversation in the US – don’t interrupt

It can get you into trouble in the US
Many of us here in Silicon Valley come from countries where interrupting is more a sport and contributes to the generally good, lively atmosphere in a discussion. However, interrupting and not listening well are serious infractions here in the USA.
1. Listen until someone is really finished speaking and then make a comment.
2. If this is hard, as it is for many of us Europeans, take a deep breath or put a rubber band on your finger when you attend a networking event as a reminder to not rush in with your answer.
3. Curb your enthusiasm. Listening attentively and quietly is frequently more the norm here than overseas.

4. Express your point of view without being forceful. Use careful language staying polite: “did I hear you correctly when you said”, or “I don’t quite agree”, for example.
5. Be patient – with yourself and with the speaker who is trying to get his/her point across.
6. Pace the speaker, adjust your gestures and expressions to mirror that of the person to whom you are speaking. This isn’t easy, so try it with friends before you do it in the office.
7. Watch yourself when you speak to someone new, this is an excellent moment to change your habit of interrupting.
8. Find friends who will alert you when you’re responding too fast rather than listening.
9. Understand: old habits are hard to change.
10. However, if we consciously try, we should be able to adapt our speaking, hold back our impulsive interruptions, and wait until the others have finished.

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