ADHD: Make Notes Instead of Interrupting
When I was young, I used to interrupt people all the time because I knew if I didn’t blurt out whatever was in my mind I’d forget before the person I was talking with ended their sentence. Do You?
When I was young, I used to interrupt people all the time because I knew if I didn’t blurt out whatever was in my mind I’d probably forget it before the person I was talking with ended their sentence.
When I ran my first business and was the company’s main salesperson, I took a class on sales from a guy who was national known as a mentor for salespeople. He was brilliant, and about as ADHD as they come.
He told me and the class that we should take notes when we go on sales calls, but mostly to use the notebook to write down what we wanted to say, so we didn’t have to interrupt.
That class really boosted my effectiveness as a salesperson, but also helped in every other aspect of my life. Now when I do my radio show and people call in or I’m interviewing a guest, I make notes of my next question so I don’t have to interrupt. I do the same when having longer conversations — generally about business or family — with Louise.
So, when I was soliciting “Hunter Success Stories” I was delighted to get this one from a person who’d come to the same realization.
Karen in Columbus, Ohio wrote to me over the Internet:
I’m a field tech support rep for a big software company. When I go out on a service call, I always carry one of those little spiral-binder notebooks in my purse, along with a pen. As the client is describing their problem to me, I make notes. Of course, I’ve been doing this for years, and this is pretty normal stuff for tech support.
But I’ve learned a new trick from this old technique.
Listening was never easy for me, because my mind is always blazing along at a million miles an hour. I kept interrupting people before they even had a chance to finish answering my last question or finish telling me all about their computer problem.
The reason I’d interrupt them was because I knew that if I didn’t, I’d forget what I was going to say. I’m extremely forgetful, and if I paid attention to what they were saying, I’d forget what I was going to say more than half the time!
On the other hand, if I kept my mouth shut and didn’t interrupt them but just kept repeating in my mind what I was going to say next, I’d often totally miss the point that they were trying to make.
So I started writing down my thoughts, the things that I would have said if I were going to interrupt them. That way, I could go back to listening to them without worrying about forgetting what I was going to say or ask; it was written down.
And, more often than not, they don’t realize that I’m writing down my thoughts or what I’m going to say. Instead, they think I’m writing down their words or thoughts, which is usually even more flattering to them or makes them think that I’m the world’s most conscientious tech rep.
This worked so well on the job that I tried it at home. Usually I don’t let my Farmer husband get a word in edgewise: I’m always blithering along, blurting things out, and interrupting him. He makes jokes about it to his friends, that I’m like that woman in the Lockhorns cartoon.
When we’re talking about something important, though, now I pull out my pad. By “important” I mean it could be about where we’re going to go on vacation, or about our sex life, or even dumb stuff about how his day went at work. And I take notes of what I’m going to say, so I don’t have to interrupt him while he’s talking.
Honest to God, my husband doesn’t make jokes about me to our friends any more and our relationship is better than ever. And none of my clients know that I’m ADHD or whatever it is that I am, because I don’t interrupt them any more and I’m always on track with the conversation.
I used this with some girlfriends a few weeks ago at a baby shower, instead of just blurting stuff out, so I could listen better. One of my friends asked if I was taking notes for blackmail (they were discussing something pretty intimate about one of the girls’ husband’s and how she was thinking of leaving him).
I really wanted to jump in with my opinion, but I just knew I should let her finish, so I took out my pad and wrote down my comment. It was kind of embarrassing at first to tell them why I was taking the notes, and I thought they’d all think I was nuts. But they all understood when I explained it, and now several of them are doing the same thing!
It’s always amazing to me how many people out there are Hunters and don’t know it, and they just run around interrupting you at every chance. If more people would carry around a little notepad, we’d all probably live in a more peaceful world.