Dancing around side-channels

Mid-conversation with a group at your client, it becomes blindingly, head-slappingly obvious to you that a major topic of discussion tangential to the current one needs to be addressed, and for as long as it goes undiscussed, it’s going to cause pain and confusion for you, for your client, and for your client’s customers. What do you do?

Blurt it out immediately? Not unless it’s literally the billing system falling over. You’ll end up busting up the current conversational context, making the current discussion less likely to actually finish and probably blowing any time block reserved for it. Don’t do that. But you know that.

So instead, you pop open Slack and send a direct message to someone likely to agree with you.

That’s…I mean, it’s better! It’s definitely less worse! But now you’re starting side-channel conversations without really giving that a lot of consideration. What’s your goal with this person? Are you trying to build rapport, or impress them? Are you trying on an idea with a limited audience to get a first take rather than throwing it in front of more people without knowing where the conversation will lead? Are you slighting someone else as part of this conversation? Wait, what was the main topic of conversation about again?

It’s a lot to think about…and you’re also trying to stay present in your current synchronous discussion, which doesn’t leave space for reflection.

Take a moment to jot a note (paper, Notes.app, whatever works best for you). Set aside 10-15 minutes after every meeting you take to process and, if still needed, act deliberately. And thank yourself for making your life a lot less complicated.

Did that make your day a little better?

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