Undivided Attention- Part I
Shortly after the hair stylist began cutting her client’s hair, she received a phone call from a friend. The telephone conversation concerned local gossip and plans for the stylist’s weekend. Throughout most of the paying customer’s appointment, the stylist shared the client’s time with her friend and finished the call just in time to collect her fee.
While dressing her child and fixing his breakfast, the young mother “networked” with several of her friends on the speaker phone and also tuned into the morning T.V. show to catch the latest news. It was not surprising that the child walked out the front door to meet the school bus without his coat or lunch pail.
As the husband entered his front door after work, he grabbed the mail from the mail box, turned on the sports channel, and began sorting the mail while watching his favorite team in action. His wife entered the room with a cheery hello and a desire to talk about her day but instead she became part of a three way tug of war for his attention.
During the patient’s brief consultation with her physician while being discharged from the hospital, the doctor was paged twice, interrupted once by his nurse, and then began reading from another patient’s chart while he wrote out her prescriptions. Her questions were never answered before he left the room to see another patient.
How often is undivided attention neglected in today’s world? Is multi-tasking such an accepted part of life and our culture that we have completely forgotten how to make eye contact, screen out the world around us, and give 100% of our time to another person?
In the workplace, not listening with full attention can lead to loss in revenue and sales. Furthermore, in a consumer driven society, the expectation is that the individual buying a product is important and worth a merchant’s time. A consumer that perceives that they are being “ignored” or not listened to might very well take his or her business elsewhere.
The impact of inattention in relationships reveals itself in communication problems between individuals as well as between family members. Problems arise when those around us seem to stop paying attention to not only what we’re saying, but also to what we are thinking and feeling. Next week, I will address the importance of listening skills and how to give those around you your undivided attention.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2005