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This question is relatively similar, but addressing the issue with senior colleagues. My case is with my boss who owns the company.

For what it is worth, there is age gap between me and my boss (around 25 years gap). I report directly to him. The problem I am facing is whenever I try to make any suggestion, sometimes even just answering his question, he does not let me finish. He just cuts off with repeated 'no', and often irritated expression. I feel this is part of bigger communication issue. But I cannot seem to resolve it without getting him to listen openly to what I say. I must say, being interrupted irritates me, and leaves me feeling unheard, and unappreciated, no matter how more experienced he is, and what position he holds. It disturbs me for a while after every incident, and I lose concentration on work. I sincerely would like to resolve this problem, professionally, without damaging my career, or my relationship with him. How can I do that?

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    Make your point faster. When he says no then stop.
    – paparazzo
    Aug 28 '16 at 10:49
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    "I feel this is part of bigger communication issue" So your boss routinely has to interrupt you in one of the most abrupt ways possible (a flat no) and you think that he has an issue communicating? It's possible, but absent further detail it's far, far more likely that you're the one screwing up these interactions. What kind of explanations are you giving here? Can you give an examples?
    – Lilienthal
    Aug 29 '16 at 19:26
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There are people in the world who simply are disrespectful, impolite and not interested in anyone's opinion but their own. There is not much one can do about that, except avoiding discussions with them.

But sometimes even polite people might cut off their conversation partner when they keep talking and talking without getting to the point. So you might not want to rule out the possibility that the problem is also partially on your side and you need to learn how to make your point in a more concise way. But without knowing how you talk we can hardly coach you in this regard.

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You have to decide if you have enough of a relationship with your boss where you can discuss this with him. Not all people will pick-up non how irritating this is to you. I would tell him that his negative reactions have made me not want to make any suggestions. Get some feedback on what you tend to do wrong in his mind.

Are you using too much jargon? Are you always pointing out very rare edge-cases that annoy him? Should you approach him at different times of the day? Would he prefer email responses?

You may find that he is irritated with something or someone that doesn't have anything to do with you.The point is, if you want any hope of fixing this situation, you're going to have to talk to him about it. Emphasis your goal is to be productive and effective in a way that works for your boss.

If he thinks his yelling is not that bad or for some reason you should just take it, moving on or just saying as little as possible may be your only options.

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When you have something important to share, prefix the conversation with "I've noticed that in speaking with you prior that you often cut me off. It's important that I feel you're really hearing what I say. Can I ask, before I start, that you not interrupt?"

No reasonable person is going to say "no". If you get anything other than "no" --- ouch.

But presuming you get a "no" (on interrupting) and you still get the same behavior, gently remind him of what he promised to do before you start speaking again. Some people just aren't that aware.

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So you can't change people, but you can change your own behaviour which will trigger a change in the other party.

Communicating how you feel is the best approach, but I would be very cautious to do so in a professional context. Not all people are "mature" enough to receive feedback and reflect upon it.

Thus, in this case I would recommend a behavioural solutions from your side. First, observe yourself in the next f2f meeting when your boss interrupts you again: what words were you using, are you criticising some of your boss' decisions, views? Are you pointing out mistakes, things that were done wrong? When you get interrupted, does your boss continues the same thought or disagrees. What is the general emotion in the conversation, is he: angry, anxious, insecure, annoyed, etc. Analyse what could trigger the reaction and change it. For example, maybe your boss wants short answers (even if you have a lot to say) - try that out then. Maybe you're pointing out his mistakes - his ego might not take it. Maybe you pose to him questions that require immediate decisions and he would like to think about it, but doesn't want to look insecure in front of an employee. Then before you come into the meeting - send him a short agenda via email, a few bullet points what ae you going to talk about, so that he/she's prepared.

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  • If you can change someone's behavior, whether you've changed them or not is moot.
    – user8365
    Aug 30 '16 at 19:52
  • Coming from a psychotherapy background, I can assure you, changing yourself is the only way you can influence others. Sep 1 '16 at 11:31
  • I'd rather have data than assurance.
    – user8365
    Sep 9 '16 at 3:27

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