Do you care enough to pay attention?
I always thought I had a bad memory about some things, and then I realised I just hadn’t cared enough to pay attention.
Although we all like to think we are good listeners, dig a bit deeper and we can usually identify beliefs that get in the way.
“I haven’t got time”
“I know what they are going to say ‘cos I’ve heard it all before”
“We never agree”
“They are so boring!”
“I already know what I’m going to do” etc.
How arrogant we are. And what opportunities could we be missing? Attending to people fully can have so many benefits for them, for you, for your customers and for your business. Who’s to say that the person you’ve written off as boring and predictable might, at this very moment, have a great idea they are trying to share? Who’s to say that someone who always comes across as confident and competent might need your acknowledgement right now?
A couple of years ago I decided it would demonstrate my respect to my learners and my audiences if I could learn and remember their names right from the outset. I didn’t have any special technique, I just decided to concentrate and be interested when I first learned their name and a little about them. I now make it my party piece to reel off all their names as soon as we sit down, and use them throughout our time together.
What helps me to really listen and remember is to make sure I am present in the moment. Not thinking about what else I could be doing, not scanning the room for other conversations that are going on, and not half listening whilst doing something else. In other words I just decide to care.
Tony Allessandra describes this eloquently in relation to taking photos. When you point your camera at a person, the background becomes blurred. When you point at the background the person becomes blurred.
- In a time where there are so many demands on your attention, what do you do to keep the subject of your attention in focus and blur everything else out?
- How do you remind yourself to care?