When it comes to distractions, when you break off from a conversation to do something else, the other person or people involved frequently will find something else to do or another person to communicate with while they wait, in which case when you’re done, that person will be engaged completely in something else. You may be apt to check your phone or find something else to do while you wait. And then the other person sees you’re busy when they are free, and the pattern continues.

Instead, you can decide upon an object to represent when you are done. That way, if you must break away for a conversation, and the other person becomes engaged in something else, when you are done, you can take the object and set it within sight of your partner to let them know you’re ready to resume your conversation.

The family dinner table is a prime time use this tool in the first way. Each person can take turns holding the object and speaking their mind fully before setting it back on the table for someone else to use.

The second method is particularly good to use when there are just two people involved in discourse. Should one receive a business call and the other starts scrolling through social media to pass the time, the second person will know when to quit scrolling when the object appears in view.