A few days ago, I went to the neighborhood service station I’ve used for years to get a leaky tire patched. While the tire was being fixed, I chatted at the front desk with one of the shop’s employees named Turner. Then, at the very moment I was wrapping up my conversation with Turner and about to thank the service manger at the rear of the store, I almost collided with an incoming customer. That’s when I committed a common communication blunder.

“So long, Jared,” I yelled back to the service manager. Turner shook his head at the front counter. “Jared’s the old service manger, Geoff. Nelson’s the service manager now,” he said. I smacked my forehead. I knew that. But between saying goodbye to Turner, hello to the new customer, and so long to the service manger, my brain grabbed the wrong name. I apologized to Nelson and headed out the door.

It’s a myth to think that we can multitask our communication without our conversations suffering. We only have the mental bandwidth to be fully present in one conversation at a time.

For more communication improvement tips and tools, buy a copy of Stop Talking, Start Communicating. Autographed copies are available online at Brace Books.

Originally posted on mouthpeaceconsulting.com.

Springing a Conversational Leak
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