We are living in what we call as an “information century” where we are continuously bombarded with information. Where is it coming from? Everywhere. It is coming from books, internet, newspapers, televisions, friends and so on. As a result of this phenomena, we are truly preoccupied with the way we receive information and the sources of our information. Doubtlessly, smart phones in these days are the main means of receiving information and they are now inseparable part of our lives.
For some of us, we can’t possibly imagine our days without smart phone. With this addiction, we are now faced with unusual ‘dilemma’ which I am referring as “too short attention span.” In other words, we are losing our ability to take advantage of the very fundamental skill which is Listening.
Listening takes quite a bit of patience and the most of all attention. Today, we might have the courtesy of patience toward whoever we are speaking to but our level of attention is becoming really scarce. Conversation only gets powerful and meaningful when two people are completely engaged in it. Unfortunately, as common as it is seen on a daily life activities, when two people meet, they always seem to have third or fourth companies with them in which they must spread their attention levels among them. Smartphones. Yes, we always have them with us wherever we go even when we meet long time no see friends. They flash, they vibrate, they ring and of course we have to respond with or without an excuse from whomever we meet.
Here is why you shouldn’t give your phone a room to disturb you during any meeting.
1. It is rude if you keep checking your phone in every five minutes. Your friend will be upset for being ignored and conversation will lose the friendly meaning and atmosphere.
2. You are not going to understand more than 30% of the entire conversation; therefore, your responses, answers, and suggestions to your friend will straightly go into trash bin.
3. You just wasted good portion of your friend’s priceless time for nothing; more importantly, your own time. Both of you are aware that we don’t have infinite time to waste.
Here are few suggestions on how to get the best out of our very basic communication skill and most importantly our time.
1. Put your phone away; it doesn’t matter where but put it in a place where it won’t disturb you.
2. Listen ”as if your friend were the only person on the planet.” Eye contacts, nods, shakes, laughs, sympathies, nudges. I mean everything must be communicated during any conversation. Only then, you will completely understand what your friend is saying and finally the conversation picks up the colors and shapes. Your friend will be grateful for having a friend who is truly attentive and you will awarded by it just for being good listener and full attention giver.
One of my most favorite phrases is “Wherever you are, be there.” I don’t quite know anything so simple as this sentence and so powerful. Meeting with a friend? Well, here goes the best strategy you must employ. Just be there with your friend, not just physically, but mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Give the gift of attention to everyone you meet for it is the one thing that all of us lack in one time or another. And you will be amazed at what you will get back.
Best of luck,