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Can I Have Your Attention? by Jonathan McKee, Curt Steinhorst

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Chapter 15Digital Communication: E-mail, Messaging, and Everything in Between

It's early morning, and an employee of yours awakens to the sound of the mail truck pulling up. Putting on slippers, she walks to her mailbox, retrieves its contents, and thumbs through her letters, magazines, and ads on the way back inside.

Not 20 seconds later, the mail truck pulls up behind her in the driveway. As she turns around, the letter carrier runs up and says, “There's more!” He hands her another pile, then asks if she's responded to any of the mail he dropped off just a few moments ago.

If e-mail were physical, this is what it would look like. Most of it is noise. But because some messages could actually be important, your employee trudges through it.

Pulling up e-mail on our smartphones every morning is like returning from a vacation to find more than a hundred pieces of mail waiting for us.

How do we turn down the volume?

Connected But Disconnected

Your employee is sitting at her son's swim meet, checking e-mail. Adrenaline shudders through her but not because of the race. It's because of a note from you with a red exclamation mark.

The sound of cheering jolts her back to the meet. Her son just beat his own record in the 200-meter freestyle. Sadly, the first chance she'll get to see it is when another mom posts the video to Facebook that night.

E-mail might have freed us from the time and hassle of snail mail and fax machines. But it has also shackled us to our phones and made sustaining ...

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