Are you fully present?
Now a days we suffer from the overage of communication media. While these media elements have increased connectedness, they have significantly impacted relatedness. Today, we typically carry 2 mobile phones, have a work landline, home landline, email, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, SMS, What’sApp, Viber, and probably a few more. All of these are great tools but they sometimes do takeaway from you being fully present.
Now let’s get to these defining moments:
Think of the last time you were ready to check-in to a hotel and the attendant prioritized answering the customer on phone over you? Sure there is a business and science behind these decisions but fundamentally – phone trumped your presence. It is now the new societal norm.
Think of the last time you were on a boring conference call or a town hall and pulled up your smartphone to check out the latest on Facebook, Twitter, or other tools and even better added to your social footprint by liking a photo or retweeting a message.
Think of the last time you were on in a conversation and then you checked your clock either because you had another appointment (or) you spent a considerable amount of time on a certain topic (or) you were inconsiderate.
Think of the last time you were with a loved one, or an employee seeking empathy or coaching, playing with your kid, and gravitated to a phone or an email on the computer.
Think of the last time you were on a dinner table and you triggered a windfall of sorts by being the first one to check something on the phone.
Think of the last time you caught your boss’ boss in the hallway and had a chat but the body posture was towards a direction instead of being parallel and focussed on you.
The list above is endless and we continue down the path of situations where instead of being fully present, you were just physically present. Fully present is really a state of attention to one individual and one conversation at a time. As you evolve, you can also think about being present to many people at any given point in time.
Here are some simple things you can do consciously to be fully present:
Turn off phones and emails. Even simply putting your laptop to a sleep mode and tucking your phone away during an important conversation goes a long way.
Always think about how sensitive the conversation is. Get better at guesstimating the time you need to have a productive conversation. Keep the 30 minutes after free.
Posture your body towards the individual in the conversation. And if you are conversing with someone with a different body posture, minimize the conversation. Chances are the individual is in a hurry and may not pay attention to you.
Keep your clock away or position it strategically to lend you a sense of time without appearing insensitive or disinterested.
Use technology as your aid. Apps like Dualingo (for translations), Refresh (social aggregation about an individual) provide you with the ability to have some professional and personal context.
Take a moment to observe and appreciate environment around you.
Finally listen well, speak less, and respond.
Although there is no ONE clearly defined tact to be fully present, you can apply some of the above techniques along with your individual persona. Try it – it never fails.