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Business Communication vs. Electronic Device

Categories: Business Communication

Recently, I took my 8- and 5-year-old grandsons to see a live performance of Robin Hood. I enjoy these “dates” – they are alone time for “Nana” and the boys. To my chagrin, however, both boys were sitting in the back seat of my car playing games on their electronic devices. My questions went unanswered. Conversation had stopped.

In frustration, I pulled the car over on the side of the road in a safe spot. I turned off the engine, turned around, and said, “Look at me. Listen to me. This is time for conversation with Nana.” I struck a deal: “10 minutes of game time, and then 10 minutes of conversation, and so on.” They weren’t happy but went with the program. The irony, as I drove them home after the theatre, was that we didn’t stop talking!

There are some key takeaways here for business communication. We know that communication involves an agreement (usually unspoken) that each person will pay attention; but sometimes attention must be commanded or negotiated. Without attention, communication stops.

Here are some ways to help keep the attention of your listener or audience:

  • Lead by example. Put your own phone and electronic devices away when communicating with others; face away from your computer screen
  • Start with WIIFT. To capture their attention, let others know upfront how this conversation or presentation will be important for them (What's In It For Them)
  • Set a time limit, and stick to it. This way everyone knows when they'll be able to get back to pressing emails and messages.
  • Pause. If something urgent comes up, be respectful of the person's need to address it. Your message is important; wait until you can have their full attention

Have you successfully sidelined electronic devices during your communications? What worked for you?

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