You’re probably really bad at multi-tasking. (Don’t worry, we all are!) And when it comes to communicating with people, there’s no exception to that rule. In fact, if you want to be an effective communicator, you should actively avoid multi-tasking when you need to talk about something important.
Here are some tips to help you avoid being distracted by technology while communicating with others:
1. Let people know that you’re going to be present. Make a habit of telling the people you’re talking to that you’re putting your phone down before engaging in a conversation. It creates a clear boundary and helps the other person feel heard and respected.
2. Don’t multitask. If you need to get something done, set aside time for completing it instead of trying to do multiple things at once. This will help you focus on each thing one at a time, rather than half-doing several things at once and doing none of them well.
3. Don’t put your phone away in the middle of a conversation. It’s important to let your conversation partner know that they have your full attention, but if you’re going to put your phone away during a conversation, do it before speaking with the other person so they know they have your undivided attention from the start.
4. Be mindful of nonverbal cues from others around technological devices or media usage. If someone is reading or using their device or laptop, let them know that you’re there and would like to talk about something with them when they’re done with work.
The bottom line is that communication and focus are paramount to getting things done in a timely, focused manner. Take steps to avoid multi-tasking, if only for the sake of your productivity. If you find yourself in a situation where you can’t avoid it (like at work), make it a game to see if you can get more done in an hour with multi-tasking than you would have otherwise.