Whether you're having a discussion on the phone or are speaking to someone face to face, it's possible that you may need to interrupt -- perhaps your cellphone battery is about to die or you realize you're late for an appointment. Whatever the case, the key to a successful interruption is doing it politely. The right wording can make all the difference in how the other party views your interruption.
Pair your words with body language to politely interrupt a conversation. Leaning forward in your seat or holding a hand up can indicate that you're about to speak. Use a statement that acknowledges you're interrupting, such as, "I'm sorry to interrupt you" or "I hate to jump in," and then explain why you're interrupting. If you're interrupting to add a point to the speaker's last comment, a phrase such as, "Before we continue, I just want to add ..." is appropriate.
Over the Phone
Because you can't use body language when you try to interrupt a phone conversation, find a brief pause in the conversation during which you can politely interject. At the appropriate moment, use a phrase such as, "I hate to cut you off, but ..." or "Excuse me, but I just thought of something to add." Other suitable phrases to use include, "Pardon me, but ..." and "Do you mind if I jump in here?"
Toronto-based journalist William McCoy has been writing since 1997, specializing in topics such as sports, nutrition and health. He serves as the Studio's sports and recreation section expert. McCoy is a journalism graduate of Ryerson University.