Have you ever had the experience of meeting up with someone, say for coffee or a tea, and while you’re talking they keep checking something on their phone but insist they are listening? Have you ever been the one who is on your phone or tablet, checking something or perhaps playing a game, when your loved one walks in the room and tells you a story but, instead of putting aside the gadget and giving them your full attention, you continue what you’re doing?
Most people actually believe they can do two things at the same time. I’m sure they can, but they can’t do it EFFECTIVELY. Two things divide their attention so they’re only giving 50% to each one. Imagine what could be accomplished if EVERYONE gave 100% full-on attention to what they’re doing?
Customer Service experts will tell you when you’re faced with a ringing phone or a client standing in front of you, the person in front of you takes precedence and GREAT customer service means you want to give this person your complete attention. If we can do this for our clients or customers, why then, don’t we want to do this for our loved ones?
There is nothing more SACRED than spending time and being completely present with a loved one. Eye contact and body language speak volumes, more so than your words (“I hear you, really I do, I can do two things at the same time. Go on with your story.”)
I know from personal experience when someone talks to me while I’m ENGAGED in another activity – be it TV, reading, or scrolling through my Twitter feed – I don’t hear everything they’re saying and I usually need to go back, once I’m unplugged, to ask them to repeat what they said. They only way I’m going to be able to LISTEN and really hear them is to stop what I’m doing, look them in the eye and pay attention to their body language.
NOTHING is more important than the person standing in front of you. There is a REASON (s)he is standing in front of you at that time.
So, the next time you’re spending time with someone, SHOW UP, by turning off and putting away the phone (tablet, book, whatever) and give that someone your complete attention. You’ll be glad you did!