Quick Tip: Avoiding Conversation

Standard life lessons teach you to make connections with people and nurture those relationships.  Sharing conversation with those you like is undoubtedly a source of enjoyment.  Networking is a key element in any business endeavor and those who network the best are often the most successful.  As the old saying goes, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

Try and forget about it while you’re at work (except for when you’re in front of clients).  Nothing kills a productive day like a good conversation (or a bad one).  Here are some quick tricks I like to employ when I’m trying to be productive and avoid conversation:

  • Answer a voice mail with an email.  It’s somewhat impersonal, but allows you to respond in the most efficient manner.  If you call the person back instead of emailing them, you are guaranteed to face small talk and useless chatter. 
  • If you work in an office and need to give something to a co-worker or superior, do it while they’re away from their desk.  If it requires explanation, follow-up the drop-off with a quick email.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve delivered a project to a manager only to stand there while he or she talks my ear off for 30 minutes.
  • Whenever possible, set up back-to-back meetings.  If necessary, put a fake meeting on your calendar.  A ridiculous amount of time is wasted during meetings, especially at the end.  When a 30-minute meeting is done after 20 minutes, people feel the need to waste the remaining 10 minutes.  Plan your meetings up against each other to give yourself an out.  “Great meeting guys – I’d love to stay and chat, but I need to get ready for my next meeting.” 

Any other ideas?  Share them in the comments.

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