The Art of Interrupting

Mastering the Game of Life

LifeSkills Academy Blog


Check back often to find interesting information and updates.

Most Recent Posts ...

The Art of Interrupting

Posted on: 1/17/2022
Joy-Filled Holiday - Cheat Sheet

Posted on: 12/24/2021
More Artful Interrupting

Posted on: 12/20/2021

Search All Blog Posts

The Art of Interrupting
Written By: Sandi McCalla ~ 1/17/2022

BLOGPOST_ArtOfInterrupting01172022.jpgThis topic has been quite entertaining to research! Some take-aways:

  • Men are in the lead on interrupting with the goal of sharing information or establishing status.
  • Women participate differently seeing communication as relational. Often, they allow interruptions to preserve the connection.
  • Both men and women feel comfortable to interrupt others within their gender grouping.
  • Interruptions span a range from exerting control to providing valuable information as well as from politeness to intolerance.
  • Many factors play into why people interrupt: culture, speaking speed, time pressure, interest in the topic, offensiveness/defensiveness, and more.
  • As with most social interactions, how others act is not always “personal.” That is, it is more about them than it is about you. Handy to know when encountering less-than-pleasant behavior.

I’m now seeing ‘interrupting’ is more of a choice than a social code. And everyone has a reasonable part to play in it:

  • For the interrupters:
    • Interrupting does convey disrespect of others. Try to only use it when it brings value to a conversation to:
      • Move a topic forward
      • Fill in important information
      • Help alert others to danger
    • Simple, respectful ways to interrupt:
      • Use the person’s first name who is speaking – “Agatha, that’s a very interesting point …
      • May I interrupt/mention/interject/add?
      • Would you clarify …?” “Would you help me understand …?
      • What’s your thought on …?” “What do you think, Stephane?” “Jason, do you agree?
  • For Moderators/Leaders
    • Set an expectation in a meeting that everyone will be asked to comment.
    • Actively moderate a conversational-style discussion. Make room for appropriate interruptions/comments.
  • For those speaking
    • Model respect to interrupters by letting them speak. If, however, they go off topic, redirect them back into the discussion:
      • Thank you for bringing that aspect up which we will cover a little later. Please be sure to rejoin at that time.”
    • If an interruption is not constructive, presume that it is not a personal issue. Take it offline to understand underlying issues and alleviate misunderstandings.

There is a final caution about interrupting:

When we interrupt, we miss out on what the other person is sharing.

Don’t miss a golden nugget from someone else at the expense of telling your story to a disrupted speaker.

Keeping with our conversational tips to making better connections, we’ll share in another post:

  • Bropropriating
  • Mansplaining, and more … 


Etiquette For You is a valued source for one-on-one training, sharpening a team’s professional edge and strengthening personal social skills. A free consultation is offered to customize topics and solutions. Set an appointment to discuss your questions and design a program for yourself and/or your team: 

Share this post!

How to `Right-Size` to Calm Your Chaos
Written By: Elisa Hawkinson - How 2 Get Organized ~ 1/10/2022


In a recent interview with a new client, I was asked what decluttering could be done instead of hiring a professional organizer. The words on my bookmark spell it out exactly from my perspective; may sound tough but let’s get serious and get the work done. It takes toughness to tackle the piles.


* Ruthless * Generous * Audacious * Intentional *

Think of putting on white painter coveralls and put one of these four words on each arm and leg, then take SERIOUS action!! You need these words to motivate and inspire yourself to be steadfast in your effort to have less chaos in your home and possibly your LIFE.


Without pity, compassion or mercy, tackle and tame the chaos that has accumulated over time. Be unrelenting and unforgiving in letting go of ALL the stuff. You could almost say: Be Vicious, Brutal, or Cold-blooded with the piles of stuff if that suits you better. Be Merciless with the cr*p that has piled up and stresses you out just being in the room.


Allow yourself to be lavish in giving away your stuff. Do so in an unselfish or even a magnanimous way. Be openhanded, and bounteous in letting go.

Being generous shows a readiness to give more away than is expected.

Google defines ‘not being generous’ as petty, stingy, selfish: lacking consideration for others; concerned chiefly with one's own personal profit or pleasure.


Think of you showing a willingness to reduce chaos surprisingly, boldly; taking the bold risk of letting go of items no longer needed or used. Make room for space and calm to enter your life, in your home, your family and business.

Show an impudent lack of respect for so much stuff not being used or needed. Courageously tackle accumulations in a room, on the bed, in the garage, the bathroom, or wherever you find disorder.


Become deliberate and fully conscious of what is kept in your home. Purposefully question what is being kept versus what could be let go of, sold or donated. Hanging onto something that you might one day need leads to stuff accumulating. Then, when you search for it, the item cannot be found, or it is outdated.

To sum it up, right-size (I like to call it ‘editing’) the contents of every drawer, closet, cabinet and every surface area to just the items used regularly along with needed items. Think “Need/Use” all the time. Collect donated items in a bag or box to deliver to a local thrift store with a mission that aligns with your heart. It makes giving even more meaningful. These item(s) provide financial resources to support the thrift store.

Then, arrange Needed and Used items with other ‘like items’: all the cereals together, all the snacks together, all the mugs together, all the dressy clothes together, all the athletic clothes together, all the casual blouses together, and so on. The same goes for keeping the cleaning products together, all the pots and pans, all the small appliances.

Finally, give yourself a moment to take in the peace and calm you’ve created. It’s also a great time to resolve how you’ll keep giving yourself and your family breathing room to let order and calm prevail. We look forward to hearing about your successes!

Elisa Hawkinson, author of Calming Your Chaos 

Share this post!

Joy-Filled Holiday - Cheat Sheet
Written By: Sandi McCalla ~ 12/24/2021

A handy personal Cheat-Sheet

Holidays are HERE – Make JOY your central theme

  • Key Daily Activities
    • Do Deep Breathing
      • In through the nose, relax the belly
      • Breathe out through the mouth; Let it GO!
    • To experience JOY, share JOY with others
      • Make eye contact
      • Make a positive observation of the other person
      • LET IT GO!
        • This can be a sensitive time for others…give them plenty of room (and yourself) to not be perfect
      • Be available
        • Even with limited time, we can still make another person appreciate the time we do spend with them.
      • Share sincere and specific good wishes
    • Create special time for yourself to savor the holiday. Schedule a:
      • Spa treatment
      • Special dinner out
      • An activity you enjoy, but don’t take time to do:
        • Movie, Games, Special party with close friends only, Day in the snow, Take the monorail into town to do shopping
      • Select a favorite holiday tune and hum it as you go through your day
    • Hosting a party:
      • Appoint a greeter to welcome guests
        • Take coats
        • Show where bathrooms are
        • Offer refreshments (serve the first drink: punch/wine/etc.)
          • With punch cup cradled on your palm and the handle facing the guest, ladle in punch – minimizes fumbling.
        • Introduce guests to others – Share similarities with others to start the conversation. EX: “How do you know the host?”
    • If you are a guest:
      • A gift is always appropriate to thank your Host
        • If you’ve brought wine, do not expect the Host to serve it at the party.
  • Christmas
    • Gifting at the Office
      • Keep gifts uniform among staff members; no hint of inequality
      • Best if gift comes from company versus individual managers
      • Safest gift exchange is “Secret Santa” or “White Elephant Exchange
    • Thank you Notes
      • Always appropriate to acknowledge receiving a gift
        • Send within 2 weeks of receiving a gift, however, the sooner the easier to recall your personal reaction to gift
        • If gift is not to your liking, always thank the giver’s intention.
        • When sending a thank you note, comment on the giver’s good qualities (thoughtfulness, giving nature, etc.) or good qualities of the gift (my favorite color, an item I’ve been wanting for some time, etc.). Always be truthful and positive.
    • Holiday cards
      • Business
        • Minimize an impersonal, Corporate feel
        • Generally these cards strengthen business relationships, not advertise business
        • Ask company staff members to sign
      • Personal
        • Always sign full name; not just first name(s)
        • Use the 2-year rule on sending cards:
          • If a recipient fails to send a card one year, do not remove them from your list unless they don’t send a card the second year.
  • When the holidays are over:
    • Make Key Activities a year-round tradition:
      • Be personable, available, transparent, connect heart-to-heart
      • Make eye contact while visiting
      • Make positive observations of others
      • LET IT GO (expecting perfection of others and yourself)
      • People interact (and do business) with people they like and trust

Serving alongside others with your talents and knowledge gets better when it’s based on true friendship and respect…does it get better than that?

Etiquette For You is a valued source for one-on-one training, sharpening a team’s competitive edge and strengthening personal social skills. A free consultation is offered to customize topics and solutions. Set an appointment to discuss your questions and design a program for yourself and/or your team: 

Share this post!