Business has changed significantly over the past 20 years. With the continuous growth of technology in the workplace, communication is one of the most affected categories. It has become exponentially easier to talk to people from all over the world. Rather than across the world to meet with a business associate, one can now meet online from their living room.

However, this ease of communication comes as a bittersweet gift. We have become so immersed in the digital world, that we have forgotten how to be present in our physical one. Reading and writing emails now takes up over a quarter of the average work week; according to a study conducted by McKinsey Global Institute, the average worker spends 28% of their work-week on emails.

With high pressure on quick responses, it is becoming increasingly common for people to constantly check their phone or computer. This has had a poor impact on face to face communication. People are becoming more disconnected, and will often be distracted by their phones while they are having a conversation.

How can you be more present?

To be more present when you are having a conversation with someone, put your sole focus on them. Make eye contact. Stay engaged. Try to keep anything that might distract you away. If you know there is a meeting coming up, take 15 minutes beforehand to sort out anything on your mind. Join the meeting with a clear mind.  If you walk into a meeting with an issue in the back of your head, you are likely not going to be present.

Why should you be more present?

By being present you are showing your colleague that you care about them and their work in the company. Your colleagues will feel more valued and understood, and they will respect the recognition you are giving them.

Your team will also be more excited. When you have a focused conversation with someone about the company’s goals, they will be much more interested because they see that it is a priority to you too and your focus gives space for a deeper conversation.

You will have much more influence when you show that you care about the conversation. Because of your co-workers feeling more valued, and more excited, they will also be more comfortable with you.

By being more present in your conversations, people will be more open to sharing ideas they would normally keep to themselves. It isn’t uncommon for people to have a fear for their boss. But when you show them you care and you show up fully in your interactions with them, fear will become trust and respect and understanding.

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