And yet, this person had a cell phone on the table in front of us, and no fewer than four times during this 90 minute conversation, when receiving a text notification, stopped in mid-sentence, picked up the phone and read the text.
Twice, when the phone rang, this important conversation was stopped in mid-sentence, without an “Excuse me, please,” or “Do you mind if I take this?” The phone rang and was instantly answered.
Is this fairly common behavior today? Unfortunately, yes.
How do you suppose it made me feel? Unfortunately, unimportant.
In any conversation, in any relationship, in any task, what is the value of giving your undivided, focused attention? It is incalculable and it is becoming next to impossible to do. Why? Because we have already surrendered. Let me explain what I mean, please.
With the NSA listening in on every phone call – with Facebook and twitter and selfies – with Target losing every credit card on file to hackers – we have voluntarily surrendered our privacy.
Or was it involuntarily? (Well, that’s an issue to explore some other time.)
What else have we surrendered? I believe it is our attention. We have surrendered our ability to focus and pay attention. And this surrender is one of the unintended consequences of technology.
What has suddenly become the second leading cause of accidents on the road? Distracted driving. Texting.
At a movie over the holidays, there were no fewer than seven different messages to quiet cell phones before the movie started, including threat of ejection to anyone caught texting during the movie.
And what happened last week? A retired policeman shot someone in a movie theater argument over texting.
This mania for staying constantly and immediately connected to a computer, tablet, or phone screen has created a jumpiness and a distractedness in people that has the whiff of addiction.
I’m resigned (sort of) to voluntarily surrendering some of my privacy for the common good; in the name of national security; to help prevent acts of terrorism.
But I’m way less than okay with the attention deficit. It’s not a fair trade.
Floyd teaches us, “People don’t care what you know until they know that you care.” And also, “You have to show people that you care, not just tell them.”
Undivided attention is the key to a healthy relationship. There is no clearer, better, more loving way to show caring than to give someone your undivided, focused attention. It was Floyd’s relationship advice to me many years ago.
Undivided attention is the key to being able to focus and stay on a task until completion.
Undivided attention is the key to a successful sales presentation. When we focus on our client’s #1 goal, and really focus our attention on what they say, what they want and need, instead of on our presentation, we demonstrate caring; but most importantly, we really connect on the deepest human level with them.
Giving undivided attention to a conversation, a relationship, a task, is the ultimate expression of the ‘get by giving’ philosophy – because it is the very definition of selflessness. Undivided attention harnesses a very powerful energy, like a laser beam focuses ordinary light into an irresistible force of nature.
Some people think that ADD is not a disorder but rather a unique 21st century skill that allows us to multi-task. That may be true for the sake of efficiency, but multi-tasking is overrated as a method of accomplishing tasks.
One step at a time. One conversation at a time. One task at a time. One relationship at a time. Undivided attention with intention unlocks the door to our untapped potential.
Next time you want to harness this power, try this: turn off your phone and turn on the power of undivided attention.
Lisa Ekanger Your Hometown Realtor!