When talking to someone, you have decided that they deserve your attention. Not part of your attention, but your full attention.
Giving your full attention means:
- Take out your headphones or ear buds. Simply turning off your MP3 player isn’t enough. You need to show that you are prepared to give your full attention by completely unplugging.
- Don’t take a phone call. You are already giving your attention to someone else. If you receive a phone call, it may be important. You could ask the person you are talking with if you can check to see who is calling. Most people will understand that. But only in emergency situations should you answer the phone. If it is not an emergency, then you are sending the message that the person on the phone is more important to you than the person you are speaking with.
- Take off your sun glasses. Sure it may be bright outside, but people need to see your eyes when talking with you. When talking with someone who has their sunglasses on and I can’t see their eyes, I assume they are looking somewhere else.
- Look at the face of the person you are talking to. Unless you are driving, show the person you are speaking with that you respect what they have to say enough to look at them face-to-face. Watching TV while talking does not cut it. I have unsuccessfully tried this many times with my wife. It never works.
- Turn away or turn off your computer. Even if you have convinced yourself that you can successfully multi-task email or other computer work while in a conversation, don’t do it. It still sends a message that what you are working on is more important than the conversation you are having.
Give your full attention in a conversation. If you can’t, don’t pretend that you are. Personal relationships are built on conversations. Letting something or someone get between you and the person you are talking to will have an impact on your relationship.
How do you give your full attention when in a conversation?