You may have no idea what you are missing in the space behind you; but you know exactly what you’re missing in front of you. What’s absent is your companion’s full attention. It’s unnerving and disengaging.
Tracking background movement is not life’s only distraction. Mental preoccupation dilutes attention. So do computer screens, smart phones, televisions, and more.
Rapport suffers when one or both parties to a conversation are more absent than present. And a lack of attention from someone who is central to your life (boss, key colleague, mate or partner) can be especially problematic.
Participants in some of the sessions I facilitate tell me how powerful it can be when they set their multitasking habits aside and turn their full focus to the individual and issue at hand. Amazing things happen. Other people settle down, open up, and share what’s on their minds. People blossom under the warmth of their attention. Relationships flourish.
Action: Here’s what you can do to create a more conducive environment for some of the important conversations in your life.
- Position yourself for fewer distractions. Turn away from your computer screen, the window, or foot traffic in the hall.
- Place your smart phone or ipad entirely out of reach and sight. Better yet, turn them off so they’re not even vibrating to signal the arrival of a message competing for your attention.
- Turn off the television, don’t just mute it, leaving the picture flickering and calling for your attention.
- Set your intention to focus 100% on the person in front of you.
- Give your head a shake. Take a deep breath, settle down, clear your mind, and lean in.
- Listen with your eyes and your ears for the words on the surface and the meanings underneath.
You’ll be amazed at the results.
Quotes Of The Week: You can always find a distraction if you’re looking for one. – Tom Kite
You never get people’s fuller attention than when you’re listening to them. – Robert Brault
Concentration requires selecting a single point of focus and resisting the pull of all else. – Daniel Goleman
Resource Of The Week: For another thoughtful take on this challenge, see David Casullo’s article: Are You A Distracted Leader?
Readers Write: In response to last week’s message (What Difference Will You Make Today?), Pause reader PH writes: Another lovely issue of your e-zine. You’re right – there are so many simple little things we can do to brighten people’s days – including our own. I have taken it to heart and will find a suitable opportunity to put this into practice tomorrow.