Active listening in the workplace, Take 1:
I was talking on the phone with a care provider when I realized she had engaged in conversation with someone physically present at her office. So I stopped talking. Even when her end of the phone was quiet, I just waited. There were several moments of uncomfortable silence. Finally, she said my name in an inquisitive tone.
I simply responded, "Yes."
She continued, "I just wondered if you were still there."
"Yes," I calmly quipped, "I was just waiting for you to finish your other conversation."
"Oh, sorry." She went on to brazenly explain, "They had been standing here waiting to ask me something for a long time."
No, they hadn't. The care provider initiated our conversation with a return call - on her time. We had been on the phone for two minutes. In what universe is two minutes a "long time"?
The upside is she was highly attentive and accommodating for the rest of our interactions that day.
How do you handle an in-person interruption when you are on the phone? Do you quietly (or not so quietly) interact with the person who is physically there with you, hoping the person on the phone won't be able to tell...or at least won't call you on it? Do you ignore the in-person interruption? Do you apologize to the person on the phone and ask them to hold a minute while you address the interruption?
If you are the person on the other end of the phone, how do you prefer the interruption be handled?
Do you have different expectations for personal calls versus business calls?
Do you have more tolerance for interruptions that occur on a personal call than on a business call?