One of the most frequent questions I get from people is “How can I be there for ______?”; you can fill in the blank. Regardless of the situation, what they have in common is that they want to be more engaged, truly there, in whatever situation is important to them. The situation could be a meeting, an event they have to attend or it could be with their family. Whatever it is, here are some tips to be really engaged and truly there in the moment.
The first thing you can do is turn off (or down) distractions. This could be your cell phone, your computer or your iPod. By doing this, you are giving the situation the respect it deserves. If you are attending a meeting or event, it also shows those around you that you are fully engaged. If you are with family, you are showing them that you have boundaries between your work and your family and that in this instant, they are the most important thing to you.
The second thing you can do is look the speaker in the eye while talking to them. By looking them in the eye, you are showing them respect. This can break down barriers in the situation and allows for the communication to be more effective. In meetings this means maintaining eye contact with the speaker. At home, it could mean turning away from the computer, TV or putting up the magazine. Eye to eye contact between people shows respect and that they have your undivided attention.
Finally, when talking to people, use their name in the conversation. This shows the person that you are making an effort to connect with them. This may take some practice. You may have to learn to use tricks to memorize someones name. It will be worth the effort when you walk up to someone that you barely know and call them by their name. That will make them feel important and that you are truly interested in them.
Use these tips to be engaged in every situation you encounter. You will notice a difference in response you get from others.