Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

Business Meeting English Skills: How to Interrupt!

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Mon, Sep 30, 2013 @ 07:59 AM

business English  how to interrupt in a meetingHave you ever sat in a business meeting at work and felt like you wanted to add something to the conversation?

Maybe you weren't sure exactly how to get everyone's attention in English?

Well, in today's lesson you will learn exactly how to interrupt a discussion and make your ideas heard in English.

Don't just sit back and listen. Use these vocabulary phrases to interrupt.

Speak up and get your message heard!


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A culture of interrupting:


business meeting in English how to interrupt in USA

It's interesting that in the US, we often interrupt each other, perhaps more than in other cultures.

We sometimes begin speaking before the other person has finished their sentence. 

If it's done the right way, it's often accepted as a normal way to communicate and often not even noticed.

Hoever, if it's done rudely by not using some of the phrases below, it can be seen as offensive.

This can also vary by region. The amount of interrupting you will hear in New York City might be much different from the amount of interrupting that you hear in a small town in the southern United States where the pace of life is slower and less intense.

What are the norms for interrupting in your culture?

If you move to the US from a culture where people let each other complete their entire sentences before speaking, you may be surprised by your first few conversations with your American colleagues. 



Formal and polite ways to interrupt


business meeting in english

  • "Can I share an idea?"

  • "I would like to add something."

  • "Can I add______"

  • "I don't mean to interrupt, but ______"

  • "Excuse me, I'd like to say something."






Casual ways to interrupt


interrupting in english

  • "Wait, what about_____"

  • "One quick thing....."

  • "Just let me say..."

  • "Just one thing..."

  • "Can I say something?"

  • "Just a minute..."


If you have any other questions about how to interrupt in English, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this article and I will answer your questions as quickly as possible!

Thanks for reading today's lesson!

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Photo credits: Sam Howzit, Dell

Topics: English Lessons, Business English Vocabulary

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