“The most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention….”
-Rachel Naomi Remen, Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at UCSF
In a world of endless distractions it becomes easy to spread ourselves too thin. We resort to things like “multi-tasking” to help us cope with the many demands that are placed on us. While multi-tasking can be an effective tool in certain circumstances, it becomes a destructive one when it comes to interpersonal communication. Ask yourself, “how does it feel when someone is emailing while talking to you?” Most would say disrespectful. Here is a tougher question, “how would your customers feel?” The bottom line is, multi tasking while communicating sends a message of disrespect. In a study done and doctors and bedside manners, it was found that doctors who give 30 seconds of their full attention are rated significantly higher by patients. Having to re-ask what a patient is having problems with or not making eye contact while speaking can mean the difference between a good and a bad experience.
How can you ensure a message of respect when we have become so accustomed to multi tasking?
Your brain is capable of producing up to 40 volts of electricity at any given time. This means that we are ultimately in control of whether or not we exercise all of the energy and focus available to us. For example, Doctors who give 30 seconds of their undivided attention to their patients are rated much higher than those that don’t simply because they are able retain the information given to them as opposed to re-asking questions.
The Tool: 40 volts for 30 seconds or 40 for 30
Dedicating all your focus and attention for 30 seconds in order to sincerely listen to someone. Can also be used to request someone else’s undivided attention.
Focus the 40 volts that your brain is capable of on a client, coworker, or anyone really and share your story with us for a chance to be featured in the next edition of The BEAT! Send your stories to firstname.lastname@example.org