Perhaps you’re swapping emails like it’s the early naughts, or you’re on Slack/Teams and chattering away with a peer, colleague or client and, while you understand perfectly what’s going on, perhaps your chat partner doesn’t, so the backandforth is quickfire.
💬 “Johnny Appleseed is typing …”
“Shall we jump on a call?”
Your first reaction is “God, no. I don’t want to talk about this, that’s why I’m chatting with you over text!”. Your second reaction is, “But, actually, jumping on a call might be a good idea because I really need us to understand this.”. Your third reaction is “But I’m still in my pyjamas because the kids were late for school and I just logged in to send Laura from accounts a quick email and oh my god…”
HOLD UP. You don’t have to do anything just yet. Take a breath! If you’re still in your pyjamas, or you can’t face human interaction this early in the day, or for any other reason that you just don’t want to jump on a call, then say so. Unless it’s something super important (which probably shouldn’t be discussed by chat anyway) it’ll definitely wait. Put a pin in it and suggest a meeting at a later date (when you’re dressed, or on your third martini).
That way, you can also suggest an agenda, invite backup (sorry, colleagues) and have a game plan for how the conversation should go. Maybe you need to do some research, or ask the right question, or get some clarification - whatever, it’s OK to push the pause button on this conversation just as it’s OK to say “I’ll need to get back to you on that one Dylan” in a real life meeting.
Just because someone suggests jumping on a call (even if it’s absolutely the right course of action) doesn’t mean you have to do it right now. After all, that’s why you’re having this conversation over Slack, right?