You’re halfway through making a well-thought-out point in a meeting and then – all of a sudden – a colleague jumps in and cuts you off.

What should you do?

“If you allow someone to constantly interrupt you and take over the meeting, you lose your voice,” said Jay Sullivan, managing partner at Exec-Comm, a business communication skills consulting firm. “If someone isn’t allowed to add value they are diminished, and they don’t have a chance to really shine.”

Getting interrupted can leave you feeling flustered and even mad, but there are ways to regain your ground without causing tension.

Don’t assume ill intent

It’s not fun getting interrupted – it feels disrespectful and can make you lose your train of thought. But the interrupter doesn’t always have malicious intentions.

“For some people, it can be challenging not to interrupt, they can be excited to contribute to the conversation,” said Stacey Engle, president of Fierce Conversations.

But that doesn’t mean you should let people walk all over you.

“If you are constantly being interrupted, that could harm your career pretty quickly,” said Tania Luna, Co-CEO of LifeLabs Learning, which provides training to companies. “You won’t be seen as an impactful contributor.”

That can be especially true in the case of “mansplaining” or “hepeating,” where male colleagues talk over or interrupt women or repeat their ideas and get the recognition the female colleague otherwise would have deserved.

Know your audience

If you find yourself getting cut off, the key is to keep your cool and remain calm.

Sullivan recommended saying the person’s name – but with a positive tone. “By saying their name, they almost always will immediately stop talking.” Then continue to say how you appreciate the insight or that you are glad they agree with you, but that you want to finish your thought.

“You’ve now taken the floor back, but you have not done anything to alienate the room by coming across negative,” he said.

It can also be helpful to have a couple go-to phrases on the ready if you get interrupted to avoid getting flustered. Luna suggested saying something like: “Before we move on let me finish my thought” or “I was 75% done with my thought.”

“Give them a percentage. That gamifies it a bit; people will be interested in what the 25% was.”

If you aren’t comfortable repeating the crime, you can wait for the interrupter to finish.

“Make sure to hold your spot in the conversational queue,” said Luna. That means making sure you get to finish making your point before the conversation turns to a new topic.

The rules change a little if it’s your boss who cuts you off. “Know the room and your role, why you are in the meeting,” said Sullivan. “If it’s your manager interrupting, your job is not to try and step in over the manager and regain your voice. You cant publicly challenge the boss in the meeting. That isn’t going to work.”

Have a one-on-one conversation later to discuss what happened. You can initiate by saying how you are trying to show more leadership skills in meetings by sharing your thoughts, but didn’t get a chance after being interrupted.

Own the conversation

If you’re giving a presentation, set expectations up front.

To avoid being talked over, Luna recommended clarifying at the start that you will hear questions at the end.

However, if it’s the boss or person who asked you to give the presentation that is interrupting, that might mean it’s time to ditch your plan and skip to what’s being asked about.

“Your only agenda is to meet their agenda,” said Sullivan, who added saying something like: I am glad you asked about that let’s jump to that part of the presentation, or, I was going to get to that in a few minutes but I am happy to get to that right now.

Help others have a voice

Meeting leaders are not only in charge of setting and executing the agenda, they also need to make sure everyone has a chance to speak freely without getting cut off.

If you notice that someone is getting interrupted, Sullivan suggested explaining that it would be helpful to hear more of what the person was saying.

The key is to emphasize that it will be productive to the team to hear the complete thought.

“Saying ‘I want to hear the rest of Susan’s thoughts’ makes it about you and your desires,” explained Sullivan. “Instead, say: ‘I think it would be helpful to the group to hear the rest of Susan’s thoughts.’”

Having a few ritual questions that you ask at every meeting can also encourage everyone to feel comfortable speaking up and giving their input, suggested Luna. Questions like: “Who haven’t we heard from yet?” or “What point of view haven’t we considered?” can help open the dialogue more and make people more likely to speak up.