3 Ways to Not ‘Miss the Moment’
Have you ever been in a conversation with someone and realized in the midst of talking with them, that though their body was present, they weren’t? Maybe their arms were crossed and their head turned or their eyes were everywhere but on you? Maybe they were looking at you but they had that glazed over look that made it clear they’d rather be somewhere else? They simply weren’t in the moment with you. How did that make you feel?
Have you ever caught yourself doing those same things to someone else? Did you feel guilty about it? Did you wonder “How do I fix this?” “How do I stay truly present to this person?” Has someone said something really important to you and you missed it? You know, because you were thinking about the ball game, or the office, or whatever…and now you’re embarrassed because you missed it. You are not alone. We all struggle with being fully present and in-the-moment with others. But we can fix this tendency and we can learn to do better.
Here are three ways to stay present and ‘in the moment’ during conversations
- Clear away the mind-chatter. When someone is speaking to you, what’s going on in your mind? If you’re like everyone else then you’re crafting your response to what’s being said. Or you’re evaluating it. Or you’re thinking about where you’d rather be. Or you’re thinking about the ball game, or lunch, or a multitude of other things. In other words, you’ve got an awful lot of mind-chatter going on. When we indulge the mind-chatter we miss the moment with this person. Train yourself to just listen. Don’t craft your response. Don’t evaluate. Just listen. Listening will keep you fully present in the moment.
- Adjust your physical posture. Uncross your arms, sit or stand up straight, and lean in a little. Your physical posture can make a difference in how present you feel in the moment and how the other person experiences your presence. Don’t underestimate your posture. It makes a real difference. I know it may sound silly, but I’ve found that even on the telephone I will feel more ‘in the moment,’ engaged, and present if I adjust my posture accordingly.
- Ask a good question. Nothing makes us feel more present in the moment, for ourselves and for the other person, than asking a really good question. When we ask the good question it says to the other person, ‘I’m really paying attention to you.’ A good question has many forms, it may be clarifying, “This is what I heard you say, is that what you meant?” or it may be open ended, “What do you really, really, want?” or it can even take the form of an invitational statement, “I’m intrigued, tell me more about that.” Great questions make great connections and keep us present in the moment.
Those are my three ways to stay present with someone in conversation. What do you think? What do you do to stay present? Do these steps sound ‘doable’ to you? Give it a shot, practice, and let me know how it goes!
Grace and Peace, Rich
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