I have read so much lately about people being so preoccupied that they just aren’t “present” with other people anymore. If you love to watch people like I do, it really is true. Couples will be at dinner together, staring at their cell phones. No conversation at all. People check out at the grocery store and never even acknowledge the check out person because they are on their cell phones. Our children are not learning the basic courtesy “hello, so nice to meet you and then handshake greeting”, because they have earbuds in their ears and can’t hear you tell them to say hello.
Maybe I’m old fashioned (I am), but I still believe love relationships, business and friendships are all built on connecting with other people via voice, caring and/or touch. I own a business that a large number of my employees sit in a bullpen area. Our job is to connect with leaders via phone and offer them new, higher level career opportunities. So not knowing how well everyone’s skillset was coming along, I did my work yesterday in the bullpen. For me it’s fun, because I don’t get others energy in my quiet office. I was shocked at what I learned. I had several who were buzzing away, having fun making new friends and talking about careers. But I had one who never picked up the phone once in four hours. For those four hours she sent “LinkedIn” inmails to people. Now don’t get me wrong, I see tremendous value in all the social media channels. But I would absolutely die of boredom if my job was to type notes to people all day. The fact remains, while some will connect via the written word, you don’t really get to know them.
The only way to really start any kind of relationship, business or other, is to be present, ask great questions and be a good listener.
I believe those that do have better businesses and quite frankly, even better marriages.
Ever talk to someone who is always looking over your shoulder to see if someone more important is available to talk to. We had a leader of our parent company like that. You never felt like he paid attention or that you were heard. In the whole time he was our leader, I never once felt like he knew anything about me….and I was on the Advisory Council.
Parents, are you guilty like I am of not stopping what you’re doing when your child wants to tell you a story? I think of how many times Katie has said “never mind” because in my multi-tasking and I didn’t hear her. Reality is there is nothing more important in my e-mail for me to not stop to listen to her!! Put the phone down!
Bottom line is this. This is a practice skill. People want to feel heard, cared for and loved. Today, start practicing “being present”. No matter whom or what it is, be in that moment. I truly believe your relationship with everyone will be stronger and your love life better. Who knows, maybe it will even heal my heart enough to date.
Authored by Employment Resource Group CEO Sharon Hulce