The Communications Courtesy Stack

Recently Jeff Hilimire wrote an article on mobile manners. The money sentence was this:

And if you’re having a conversation with someone you really shouldn’t be checking your phone or device constantly.


When I first started managing people back in the day I reached a point where I could not deal with all the stuff coming at me. People, phone calls, emails. I was a little overwhelmed and had a conversation with my manager about the best way to deal with it all. His advice. Focus your attention on the person that put in the most effort to communicate with you. It works, and it also keeps a certain level of communication courtesy in what you are doing. The communications priority stack looks like this.

  1. People that have physically moved their bodies to communicate face to face.
  2. Telephone calls.
  3. Emails.
  4. IM/texts.

Don't think this is right? Let me ask you this. What is your preferred method of communication? Most people like to communicate from the bottom of the stack to the top with a certain nuance for the closeness of the relationship thrown in. They like this because it takes less effort to communicate at the bottom of the stack.

Still don't think this is right? Imagine this scenario. I get up and walk over to talk to a co-worker. We are mid-conversation. Her phone rings and she answers it or gets a text and starts typing out a reply. How would you feel? The message being sent is that whomever is calling/texting is more important. Not the type of message you want to send (and BTW my standard reaction to this rude behavior is to leave).

Try the communications courtesy stack. Focus your attention on the person that put in the most effort to communicate with you. 

September 5, 2013  |  Comments  |  Tweet  |  Posted in Personal