I think multi-tasking has been detrimental to our communications skills. People are so busy mult-tasking they don’t have time to give the people in front of them their full attention.
- How many of you have been in a meeting where half of the crowd is busy IMing, emailing and blackberry-ing? How much longer did that meeting take since the distracted participants caused the presenter to repeat themselves 20 times?
- How many times have you seen a couple or group in a restaurant looking like a zombie because one of their companions was living it up on the phone?
- How many times have you seen moviegoers frantically texting mid-movie (distracting you with the light or noise from the clicking keyboard)?
I know it is tempting to text and talk or IM and converse, but please give the person engaged in real time with you your full attention. Whether in a meeting, on the phone, or in a restaurant. Your companion will appreciate it and deserves the courtesy of your undivided attention for a little while. If you can’t give it to them, reschedule.