When I was in high school my best friend called nearly every night while she was doing the dishes. It was multi-tasking at it’s finest. She completed a few mindless chores while entertaining both of us with her silliness. (Side note, she still calls me on occasion while she’s doing the dishes and I love it!)
That type of multi-tasking works.
Here’s what you need to be careful of – multi-tasking in a conversation. As in, trying to get more done in one conversation than is necessary or even possible.
Just because you’ve got someone’s attention does not mean you should run through the laundry-list of things you’d like to talk about. Save that type of multi-faceted or longer conversation for a scheduled meeting when there’s an expectation of getting down to business or getting work done.
3 Reasons to Avoid Multi-Tasking in Conversations
- Increases distractions. People start looking for an escape when they realize they’ve been cornered.
- Reduces clarity. When you focus on one thing everyone is clear on what you’re talking about.
- Decreases productivity. Conversations focused on one objective make it easier to remember the one thing you, and others, need to take action on. If you bump into someone on the way to bathroom and rattle off three things in a two-minute conversation what are the chances they remember those three things by the time they get back to their desk? What’s the likelihood they take action? Stick to one thing at a time to get results.
In casual conversations, where you’ve accidentally or intentionally bumped into someone, focus on one objective. You’re more likely to find success and set up more productive conversations in the future. Plus, it’s what winning conversations sound like.
Jen Mueller is a badasss at business communication, a keynote presenter and a veteran sports broadcaster. Her approach to business communication is based on 20 years inside professional locker rooms. She currently serves as the Seattle Seahawks radio sideline reporter and is a member of the Seattle Mariners television broadcast team. Hire Jen for your next conference, company meeting or business communication training. Jen@TalkSportytoMe.com