Will you shut up, man?

Problem: Aggressive, domineering speakers often create a hostile environment (both consciously and unconsciously) by interrupting others during discussions, meetings, and most recently, during the presidential debate.

Lots of such speakers are unaware that they are constantly speaking over others, and do not actually respond to intervention by others in-situ when they are exhibiting this behavior. They also distrust other’s claim that they are frequently being disruptive to others because of confirmation bias.

Solution: A tactile, haptic feedback in your pocket based on how long you have interrupted someone. Similar to someone kicking you under the table when you’re saying something you shouldn’t, it delivers a metaphorical “kick under the table” to provide a speaker awareness of their interruption.

When you first start speaking when someone else is speaking, you receive a simple tap as a reminder. As more time elapses, the taps increase in frequency (and optionally magnitude. The mini solenoid in our kit doesn’t allow for a change in force). This should impress upon the speaker the severity of their interruption (i.e. the longer it is, the more rude and disruptive it is and unlikely to be constructive). If the interruption time elapsed exceeds 5 mins, it should just switch off someone’s mic.


Application: Outside of the presidential debate, this kinetic feedback is a discrete way to help speakers monitor their own speaking (and interrupting) behavior to create a more inclusive environment.

As we transitioned into entirely online meetings due to covid WFH, people have become more conscious about turn-taking when speaking since visual / auditory cues of when someone might want to interject are now invisible.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.