How to Be 100% Present in a Distracted World … and Why

You’re constantly under siege. Rings, pings, buzzes and alerts – the barrage of information and communications is never-ending. Is it any wonder that, like all of us, you’re prone to distraction?
And at what cost? When you’re in a meeting and scrolling through texts, or bouncing in-and-out to take calls, what messages are you’re sending to your team? That the meeting isn’t that important. That they’re not that important. That you’re not engaged. That you don’t really care.
The crime of it is that in the vast majority of cases when you allow yourself to be distracted, you don’t need to be. It’s not life-or-death. You’re not going to miss out. It can wait until the next break.
It’s a choice.
If a meeting isn’t important enough for you to be there, then don’t be there. If it is important enough, then be 100% present. Don’t just go through the motions. Bring your “A” game.
Here are three ways:

  1. Listen intensively … as if each sentence might hold the key to your success. Lean forward. Look directly at the person talking. Listen to understand, not just to formulate a fast response.
  2. Ask probing questions … to gain clarity and to enhance the conversation. Rephrase key points and ask the speaker if you understand correctly. Ask the speaker how she arrived at her conclusions. Or what risks might be associated with her recommendations.
  3. Plant “idea-seeds” … to test your thinking and theirs. Present one of your concerns, or one of your solutions, as a “what-if” scenario, and then get your team’s reactions. The idea isn’t to see who’s right; it’s to promote thoughtful discussion.

When you are 100% present and do bring your “A” game, don’t be surprised if your team ups their game. What you as a leader role-model sets the standard for your team.
Challenge Yourself: The next time you go into a meeting, imagine that everyone is evaluating and grading your contribution. Be 100% present.
(And if you’re reading this while you are in a meeting … start now!)
Make it happen.
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