Love him or hate him, Bill Clinton has a gift…
I’ve heard it talked about by pundits, authors, interviewers and, pretty much anyone who’s ever stood toe to toe with him. You could be in a room with a thousand other people, but for the brief few moments you’re with him, nobody else exists.
He’s laser-focused on one-person—YOU.
He’s right there with you. One hundred percent. And, that makes you feel really good. It makes you like him. A lot. Even if you don’t like his politics. Because he’s giving you a gift, without you even knowing it. Trust me, though, he knows exactly what it is, how to use it and why it works. And, he’s magical at it.
Fact is, though, many folks go the opposite direction and, in doing so…systematically stress or shred nearly every relationship in their lives.
Social multitasking, the anti-connector
Let’s put you on the receiving end of the equation to really understand the impact. Immediately after meeting Bill, you bump into an acquaintance, Sam. You’re at a large gathering and, as you chat, you notice something quite alarming happening.
Every few seconds, Sam keeps glancing around the room, scanning for others. He’s with you one second, gone another. You don’t quite know when to talk, because it’s not clear when he’s listening or keeping tabs on the ten conversations going on around you.
On the occasions where he snaps back into conversation, he’ll often ask a question. But, less than five words into your answer you notice he’s scanning the room again, not even listening. Or, he’s started a fresh conversation with someone else.
Sam is guilty of social multitasking, and it’s making you feel like crap!
When people you speak with constantly dart between listening to you, giving you their attention, then wandering offer, especially mid-sentence, it’s just incredibly disconcerting. It makes you feel belittled, insignificant, frustrated and angry. Oh, hell, it just plain sucks!
So, why are YOU doing it, too?
Simple fact, one of the greatest gifts you can give anyone is your full attention. And, one of the reasons it’s such a huge gift is that, sadly, full-attention has become so rare that, when given, it’s like you’ve just offered up a trunk full of buried treasure.
But, as much as we love to receive other peoples’ undivided, sing-tasked attention, we’re often guilty of not giving that same attention to others ourselves. And, to make matters worse…
The people we’re most guilty of social multitasking with are those closest to us.
We start conversations, then wander off as soon as our kids start to answer. A phone rings or a person you’ve been trying to connect with darts past, taking your attention away from a partner mid-sentence.
And, honestly, I think mom’s have the toughest time avoiding the social multitasking gremlin, because when your kids are itty-bitty, you have to do it.
There is no reasoning or setting rational boundaries with an infant about when or where they get your attention. If you’re mid conversation and your munchkin needs some love, game over, the little one wins.
So, after years of being patterned to social multitask, it becomes simply a way of life. And, man, can that be a hard pattern to break. But, like any other destructive habit, once the short-term situation that mandates it has ended…
The first step to breaking the habit is awareness…
Take a serious look at how you operate. Do you social multitask or do you offer undivided attention to each person you are with? Guaranteed, the more you do it, the less connected you with those around you and the more strained your relationships are.
You know how bad it feels to have to fight for the attention of those close to you in both your personal and professional life. Now, turn the mirror on yourself.
Are you making others feel the same way?
Become a witness to your own interactions for the next 24 hours. Pay particular attention to the way you allocate your attention in every conversation you have.
Now, for the bigger step. Focus on the conversation you are in. Make whoever you are speaking with at any given moment feel like they are the only ones alive. And, if you’re someone who’s easily distracted by future to-do’s, keep a note pad, PDA or something always with you to jot down anything that pops into your mind that needs your future attention.
So, when you’re in conversations and these things pop into your mind, you can quickly jot them down and return to the conversation, rather than jumping to that task. And, make it clear that this is what you are doing and you are still fully committed to the conversation, so the person you’re talking with doesn’t think you are just wandering off again. Then, truly return to the conversation.
Commit to giving the person you are with your FULL ATTENTION.
It’s far better to give someone 5 minutes of laser focused, undivided attention than an hour of meandering, distracted energy that says “I really don’t care enough about you to give you my full attention.”
Commit to short, but highly-engaged bursts of absolute attention and presence and watch the magic unfold. The conversations will get better, deeper, more meaningful. There’ll be fewer miscommunications and misunderstandings. And, the people around you will begin to feel far more valued respected and understood.
Do a 3-day trial and see what happens. Truly, you’ll be amazed!
Am I oversimplifying this? Is it really possible?
Does this simple thing really make such a difference?
Have YOU ever been on the receiving end of social multitasking?
Got any extreme examples? C’mon, I know ya do, so share…
Got any other strategies that might help?
Join our Email List for Weekly Updates
And join this amazing community of makers and doers. You know you wanna...