Every now and then you’ll be on the computer in the middle of doing something important, and you get a message. This could be a text message, email, instant message, or what-have-you. But you can’t be engaged in that conversation at the moment because you have things that need to get done.
It is at this time you need to employ methods to kill that text conversation quick so you can get back to work, but do so in a polite way as to not insult the person communicating with you.
There are many ways to do this, but here are 4 of them.
1. End on a statement and not a question, and stop
Wrong way: “I’m working now, can we chat later?”
Right way: “I’m working now and will have to chat later.”
Every time you try to be nice and end a conversation with a question, you’re doing nothing but inviting more needless small talk when all you want is to get back to work.
The right-way method above sends three messages at once. You’re working now; it’s important; go away.
If the person tries to continue the conversation, don’t reply. Later on you can just say you were busy (which you were) and that’s why you can’t reply. You basically have all your bases covered, so unless the person trying to communicate with you is a real cling-on, you should be in the clear.
2. Purposely delay replies by at least 10 minutes
Many people feel compelled to reply instantly to any message they receive. If you’re busy doing other stuff, don’t do that. Delay your replies by at least 10 minutes and the person trying to bug you should get the hint, with emphasis on should.
3. The answer to “Are you busy?” is always yes
Most (if not all) of the time, you try to be as nice of a person as you can, and when someone asks “Are you busy?”, you may reply with something such as, “Yeah, a little.” Don’t do that. Just say “Yes”, because it’s an honest answer. While true it is a little cold and obviously terse, it works.
4. Show your chat status always as “away”
Some of you are probably thinking, “Just disable instant messaging and your problem is solved here.” There are many instances where you can’t do this, particularly in corporate environments. For example, with internal corporate text chatting (such as with Lotus Sametime), you are expected to have that stupid thing on at all times. Fortunately, you can set your status as “always away”, even when you’re at your desk.
On the regular internet (particularly with Skype), you can set yourself as always-away easily.
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