Making Interruptions Positive
Chat, email, slack, zoom, DM, phone calls, office visits - we have so many ways to reach out – and each is an interruption. A survey of knowledge workers found that whether an interruption was perceived as positive or negative was an even 50/50. As we balance hybrid and onsite with multiple communication tools, how your interruption is perceived is key to team effectiveness. So here are a few tips from Harvard Business Review on how to make those moments when you need to interrupt be received positively. Notice the focus on considering the other person.
Is it important? – is this likely to be a priority for them? How does the news or task affect that person and the team?
Consider their workload – if they are already slammed that day, consider asking someone else or waiting until later.
Is this the right person? – does their role make them the best fit for this question or task?
Observe the busy signals – if their door is closed, or their calendar shows as unavailable, leave a message asking for time.
Keep it brief – don’t let interruptions drag on, show respect for the other persons’ time.
Give advance warning – consider providing a heads up that you’ll reach out next week with feedback, or if you need response by a certain date/time. Requesting a time to check-in allows teammates to adjust focus to meet priorities.