Jessica writes that the constant barrage of information from cell phones, pagers, Blackberries and laptops makes it impossible to communicate face-to-face with people anymore. She feels that she’s always competing for attention with colleagues’ outspoken family of devices, and that she can’t get a word in edgewise.
I’m sure Jessica isn’t the only one feeling this kind of frustration. If you want to build strong workplace relationships, make a habit of being mentally present for everyone you deal with. This means actually listening to what she is saying, focusing on him rather than everything else going on in the room and ignoring electronic interruptions.
In-person communication is a beautiful thing. When someone comes to your office or cube, decide right then and there if you have time to talk. If you don’t, say so. If you do have time, but only a little bit, ask if it’s enough. You don’t necessarily have to drop everything for the person, but once you make the commitment to have a dialogue, be respectful. Remember that her time is important too and give her your full attention. Doing this will set you apart from the scores of employees who believe that sitting across the desk from another person means you’re communicating