You have an advantage - you can be present. You can be the one in the room listening, hearing, making eye contact. Not only will that make you unique (because most people are looking at their email while someone is speaking), but it will allow you to use your mind. Being present during meetings is a huge advantage for you.
Here are three simple things that you can do to be the most present person in a room:
- Close your laptop. All the way.
- Turn off the ringer on your phone. If you have kids or a family member that may need you, leave it on vibrate. We all know that family may need you. That is always okay. When I know that one of my kids might need me, I will mention it at the start of the meeting and set my phone off to the side. Then my mind can be at ease, and I can be present.
- Have a pen and paper, and when people are speaking, take notes. It is a show of respect to the person speaking that you take notes. Plus, when you listen and write, you tend to retain more.
Here are just a few of the advantages you will get:
- You will have less stress. It is stressful to look at email, check the news or scroll through spreadsheets while trying to listen to people.
- You will learn to appreciate people. When you develop a habit of sitting and looking at people and hearing them, you can enjoy the process of learning about them personally and what they have to say.
- Your mind will amaze you. If you focus on a topic and work with people, you will have great ideas, become more flexible and have the ability to solve complex problems.
- People will appreciate you. In the busy world we all operate in, it is refreshing to be with someone who is listening to you, making eye contact and giving you feedback. This will help you as you build your work relationships and your career.
- You can serve people. When you slow down a bit, you will pick up on the little things that will present you with opportunities to help people out. This also will help you build credibility and trust in your peers.
Bonus to managers:
Try and make your meetings 50 minutes. Start the meeting by letting people know you have left 10 minutes at the end of the session so that everyone can get caught up on email. I try to also make it clear up front that if anyone has a customer call or commitment that they are free to tend to that. Once that stuff is out of the way, everyone can be free to be present for the time together.
Being present is valuable, enjoyable and needed. Turn it into your personal advantage today.