I am not being rude. I am just really busy and don’t care what you have to say…

#digitalrudeness. It is a thing. If you pick up your phone while someone is talking, glance at your smart watch or look at a screen instead of talking to the person, then you are #digitalrude. I would love to say that this is a minor problem, but it is not. It is truly an epidemic.

Not, that everything I have to say is a gem, a polished pearl of wisdom. In fact, I know, like most people the things I have to say are hit and miss at times. It is just the reality that lies in front of us now. I wrote about this extensively in my recently updated book on Inter-Generational knowledge transfer. The reality of this new age of communication is as much what we don’t do what we do. I understand that as things change, communication has to change as well.

Now, you can sit at the dinner table and as the conjecture flows around you, simply log into your smart device and answer the question, from a valid source. Conjecture stops, the conversation ended with a factual this is what the truth is.

That’s a good thing. It ends the ongoing argument with facts. Stops the thread as it were, with a factual presentation of what is. No argument required about the definition of is, just an end to the argument. It is truly important to be able to do that. But, there is a little trick first.

“I am looking it up.” Said right before, or a minute before or well BEFORE you take the phone or tablet out. Stop and listen, before you log into the computer and turn away from the speaker. There are times, I know because I have done it myself when we are swamped and don’t turn away. We don’t say to the person can we meet in an hour, tomorrow or some other time. We try to multitask and do two, three or even four things at once. All that happens is that we are digitally rude, and fail at four tasks.

IMG_0386So to everyone that had ever come into my office when Iw as busy and talked to me, I am sorry. I violated the rule of #digitalrude, and I am very sorry. Your time, your thoughts and the things you needed to share with me were important. They are important to me. I shouldn’t have had my computer logged in, my smartphone on the desk and I shouldn’t have looked at my smartwatch. Because what you had to say was more important than what the screen was saying.

Why do I know this for certain? Because the human being across from you is more important than any unknown message, you get on your SmartDevice. In fact, unless you are getting a 911 call from family or other friends that aren’t in the room there is nothing on that device more important than the person that is sitting across from you.

So take a breath, and look away from the screens. Don’t because your pocket is buzzing, reach in and pull out your phone. If you are expecting an urgent call, tell the person that. Say I am expecting a call I have to take from XZY. If, your call is truly urgent the person you are talking to will understand.

If you are the caller, and the person doesn’t answer the phone, don’t call them right back until the message is truly urgent. Urgent, not in the sense that you want to tell the person that your dog just sat up and howled or that your cat can burp the alphabet. Consider the urgency of your information, and make sure it is urgent for the person receiving it to act upon information. If in fact you then realize that your call isn’t urgent, them a message saying this isn’t urgent, call me back when you can.

By the by, if it truly is urgent, call right back. Or text them 911. Then that code will let the person on the other end know that they need to react to you. They can look at the person hey are talking to and say “can you excuse me for a moment I have an urgent call.”

Communication is a critical part not only of success but of the reality of how we deal with other people. Picking up your phone while someone else is talking is just #digitalrude. You will find that out when later you go to the person you ignored and ask them a question.

Their answer most likely will be no. Plus, they will tell you they don’t have time to talk to you. You see, clearly, that your #digitalrude behavior already told them that you don’t have time for them. It is all a two-way street.


trying to be better