“Let’s take that offline.”
Generally speaking, that means that the topic at hand is deemed more appropriately discussed privately, and not out loud with the entire community.
Besides never knowing who actually takes the action to setup the offline discussion, the “offliner” or the “offlinee”, I wondered if anyone has ever said, “let’s take that online” instead of “let’s take that offline.”
So why would you ever actually elect to have topics liked this discussed online versus offline?
I’ve found that the offliner’s questions or concerns about the topic may actually be the same questions or concerns with the broader group. Taking it online, and thus out loud for the questions/concerns to be raised–and answered–may benefit the entire community of people. Taking it offline can imply that the entire community would not benefit from the dialog around the topic, but how do we know?
Yet our tendency is to take these things offline and if the offline meeting happens at all rarely is there a feedback loop to the broader community. One person’s concerns are addressed offline, and the remaining community, likely with the same question, is just left to wonder or speculate. Plus, we all tend to create drama when it really isn’t there. “Oh, I wonder how that (offline) conversation went?”
I’m just not sure that is really efficient. I’m not suggesting at all that there is never the need for a private discussion. I’m just suggesting that the future of work involves more online discussions, even if the topic may be something we’re used to handling in private one-on-one forums.
So, the next time you’re tempted to play the “offline” card, why not try the “online” one? You might surprise yourself.