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Walking, Talking and Texting

Inevitably you will find yourself with a friend or a group of friends when a text message arrives. Now, you can always defer the response, by Murphy’s Law will work against you here.  It always seems that the most urgent messages arrive at the least convenient times.

But never fear.  You can continue your conversation while texting and walking.  The key is multitasking.


You are walking and talking with friends when an urgent or semi-urgent message pops up on your device.  You look at the sender and realize that it can’t wait.


Employ simple walking-talking-texting techniques to carry on the conversation while texting and talking.  Sound difficult.  It’s not once you have mastered the basics.


The key to walking-talking-texting is a disciplined approach to using the Text Ranking.  See section 4.2 for more information on text ranking.

  1. When a text message comes in, determine how important it is.  Use a text rank scale of 1 to 10 to keep as objective evaluation of the message as possible.
  2. Now evaluate how important your current activity is.  Does it rank higher than the message coming in?  For example, if you are just chatting about the latest American Idol (a priority ranking around 1 or 2) then almost any text message will come in higher.  However, if the American Idol conversation is with a long-time friend that you have not seen in a while, then actually, catching up with them may be around a 6 or 7.
  3. For messages that are important but not urgent, hold off responding to them until there is a lull in the conversation.
  4. When there is, politely excuse yourself.  For example, “I have to respond quickly to this.”
  5. Take a brief hiatus from your conversation and raise your device in the Walking  and Texting position.
  6. Get your rhythm.
  7. While you wait for a response, continue your conversation.  You should indicate where you are in your texting.  “I’m just waiting for a quick response.”
  8. If the texting is going to take too long, then you should simply indicate that this messaging is somewhat urgent.  Wait for an acknowledgement from your friend or colleague, and continue.

The key is knowing when to response and how much to respond.  Sometimes a simple “I’ll get back to you later” will suffice with your boyfriend or girlfriend.

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