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Monday, March 26, 2012

Just Look


Distraction and Multitasking
We live in a very distracted age. We multi-task without giving much thought to it. Until recently, if you asked any of my friends what I was doing at home in the evening, they would have said- sitting in front of her computer working on something for class or the blog, surrounded by books, tweeting, with the television on in the background. And, until recently, that would have been true. As I am required to do more reading and writing, the TV has not been on much.
But, I am not alone…

Why don’t we just stay home?
Frequently when I go out to eat with friends, I watch as people are either talking on then phone, or staring down at their smart phones instead of interacting with the person sitting across the table from them. Sometimes both people are looking at the phones, and you have to wonder what they bothered to come out together. Why didn’t they just stay home alone and talk to the people they really wanted to be with. Or, my favorite, when one person will move it off to the side, so there is a “semblance of attentiveness.”
And, it’s not just telephones. We are distracted by any and everything that comes into our view. Sometimes we just get lost in our own thoughts.
Much energy and emotion is wasted because we are losing our ability to communicate with people face to face any more. Communication is an art that is fading from our culture. It is much simpler to whip off a quick text, email or tweet.

Listening, being heard and understood are important aspects of our lives.
Job #1 Pay attention….Just look
When people are talking to us, they are usually trying to communicate something of importance to them. It may not be earth shattering, but it is important. Sometimes it’s as simple as having another human being acknowledge and help validate your existence.
When you are having a conversation with someone, turn on all of your senses. We communicate with more than just our voices. Our voices give cues to our emotions through tone, volume or inflection.
But, use your eyes.
Look at the posture. Is it confident or slumped?
Is the breathing quick and anxious or slow and steady?
Are the hands resting, active or wringing?
Look at the facial tells, we all have them.
Most importantly, look into the other person’s eyes.

Connect with them.
Listen with your heart.
Go where they are.
Walk the path with them.

Open your eyes and your hearts to see what you’ve been missing.

What else would you add to listening by observation?

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