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  • Writer's picturePeter Yawitz

Is It Rude To Interrupt on Zoom?

Dear Someone Else’s Dad,

I can’t seem to get anyone’s attention to say what I’d like to say on Zoom calls. I’ve tried raising my hand, doing a few “ahems,” and even coughing loudly, but no one stops to let me speak. I always thought it was rude to interrupt, but that’s what everyone else seems to be doing. In the meantime I’m being “polite” and not participating.


Fake Cougher

Dear Faker,

The old meeting guidelines of “wait your turn” or “speak when you’re called on” seem to have gone the way of handshakes, breakout room loveseats, and shared bowls of M&Ms. If you’re not fortunate enough to have a Zoom meeting moderator who consciously encourages all members to participate, it can be a free-for-all to get your points across.

I’m not suggesting you be rude by talking over people, but find opportunities to add on to what someone has said just when they finish talking, speak loudly (“ahems” won’t cut it today), and use leading phrases like these:

  • Excuse me, I’d like to say something.

  • I’ve been listening, and I’d like to summarize plus give a suggestion.

  • I don’t mean to be rude, but we’re running out of time, so here’s an idea.

  • Everyone, I need you to hear me out right now.

There’s no guarantee that people will immediately clam up, a spotlight will shine on you, and music will swell when you use these statements, but please make sure you’re ready with a darn good message after those promising lead-ins.

One guideline that hasn’t changed in this new environment: make a goal to say at least two or three important points or summaries during a meeting, virtual or otherwise. If you’re determined to achieve that goal you’ll find ways to interrupt (in a nice way).

Good luck,


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