He just couldn’t see how the scores came back like that, he was sure that the more extraverted types in the team had taken up way more of the air space and done a lot more interrupting than he had but when he saw the scores he was the highest scorer in the ‘Shutting Out’ box.

At red10, we use the blue, red and green communicating behaviours analysis as a powerful tool to give individuals and teams a snapshot of how they are communicating. The analysis and styles of communicating that are detailed provide a useful and insightful link to how effective that individual or team is and where they can make easy improvements with some simple, conscious behavioural changes.

Of all the11 behaviours the one that gets most people’s attention is the behaviour described as Shutting Out. As this is classified as a red behaviour, it is described as not useful. When people receive a high score here it can often provoke feelings of having been bad or wrong when it really is just information for you decide what you do with.

However, It certainly does get people’s attention and offers powerful feedback. The results can actually be a bit of a shock. I know when I first received my score it certainly was. I vowed not to say anything in the next discussion just so I wouldn’t get any more ticks in the Shutting Out box – not an entirely useful or grown up or successful approach because I wasn’t able to stay quiet as I felt passionately about the subject matter in hand.

People are more prone to Shutting Out behaviours when they care about the subject or they are personally involved in the matter. So if people care and yet do not get a chance to contribute, the chances are that they will shut others out in order to do so.

20 years on and I am still working on this behaviour. So what does it look like and why is it so easy to fall into the trap of doing it?

The most common behaviours classified as shutting out are:

  1. Interrupting whilst someone is still talking
  2. Talking over someone else who is talking
  3. Sub groups breaking out from the main conversation,
  4. Finishing others sentences for them (see more on this in the September Red Letter)
  5. Interrupting, realising, waiting for them to finish then, when they do finish, carrying on with what you originally interrupted with. In other words, waiting for airspace but not actually listening.
  6. One person invites another person into the discussion or asks a question of someone and a third party comes in and answers the question not intended for them.
  7. Jumping in with something new when someone just pauses to consider what they will say next.

Now you know what to look out for, good luck with giving it a go!

With all that said though, the real value and shift to be made individually and/or as a team is getting into the green communicating behaviours. Tips and ideas on how to do this, especially at times when you are not in control or the chair of the meeting will be in November’s Red Letter.