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Digital messaging has changed the way we communicate. But perhaps texts can teach us something about how we speak to each other. How we listen and respond.

We need to take turns for communication to work well.

When someone is speaking, it’s tempting to begin formulating a response before the speaker is finished. And sometimes, we stop listening while we carefully craft our own words.

While the speaker is relaying A, B, C, D... we start to generate a response. Then, when we know our position... H, I, J, K.

And now we’ve missed three letters.

Just like the speaker at the podium asks us to hold our applause until the last name has been read, there are times when it’s best for us to let the speaker finish relaying her thoughts before we decide how we’d like to respond.

Just like a text message. When you see that someone is replying, hang on a second: something’s incoming.