Have you ever talked to someone but failed to hold their attention? The more you talk the more distracted they seem to get, constantly checking their phone or looking over your shoulder across the room.
Or maybe you’re the one who can’t pay attention.
You forget important details your friends share with you because you’re busy thinking about something else. When your kids talk to you, you’re more concerned about your book or your TV show than what your child is trying to tell you.
Whatever side you find yourself on—and both are equally bad, proactive adjustments are necessary for to become more present in your interactions with other people. Whether it’s a coworker, a family member, or a friend, you need to be in the moment with them if you want to keep that relationship strong.
Demonstrate You Care
Even when you’re not really that interested or vested in what they’re saying, it’s important to demonstrate that you care. And you can demonstrate that through attention.
If you struggle with giving a loved one your full attention, make a commitment to focus on that person when they reach out to talk to you. Promise to pay attention and block out the distractions.
That means putting down or turning of your cellphone or tablet, shutting down the television or computer, lowering the music, and stopping what you are doing. It also means catching your mind wandering to a response, something that happened today, or the person’s haircut.
I know this can feel tough when you are busy or occupied with another task. However, you won’t regret it when you see the difference it makes in your communication skills and relationships.
Ask for Presence
When someone else isn’t being present with you, here are some ways to solve the problem:
- Address the issue directly with the person. Though confrontation is difficult, that hardship is better than sacrificing the respect and honor you deserve. Use tact and love to tell that person you want to share something important with them, and that you would appreciate their full attention.
- Stop what you’re saying and walk away. It’s a powerful statement and will help the person realize the error of their ways. But be careful—walking out can amplify existing problems as well.
- If you want to avoid the issue before it arises, try addressing your expectations before you speak to that person. Say something like, “I would like to tell you something. Do you think you could be totally present with me while I speak?”
You know your loved ones and colleagues best, so decide what option is least hurtful to that person. Set a precedent that you want to be respected, and you want that person to be completely present when you speak.
Overall, a relationship is a two-way street. Those you speak to should be present with you just as you need to be present with them. We all need to make conscious choices to improve our interactions and have powerful communication skills. Rich conversation will create more meaningful and impactful relationships.
How do you develop presence when you communicate?
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