May I have your attention, please?
Attention is one thing all humans long for. We want to be noticed. We want to be acknowledged. But often, humans are so involved with themselves they walk through life thinking about what they need, what they want.
While getting attention is gratifying, so is giving attention. Public relations expert, Steve Rubel, said, “Attention is the most important currency that anybody can give you. It’s worth more than money, possessions, or things.”
When businesses use attention as the foundation of their public relations program, they get their customers’ attention in return. It’s a win for both sides. The same thing happens when the rest of us use attention as the foundation in our personal relationships.
Attention is a give-and-take proposition. Sometimes you give more than you get. Other times you get more than you give. This isn’t about bookkeeping; it’s about maintaining and building strong, loving relationships. How you give attention can come in many different forms.
Listening is one of them. So even if you deem what you’re hearing as unimportant, remember that it’s important to the person who’s telling you.
Be polite. Use “please” and “thank you” often. Say “excuse me” when you pass in front of others.
Be present. That doesn’t always mean being in the room with someone. It could mean being present to others’ needs. For example, if you notice someone is stressed, give them the space they need to unwind. Perhaps it’s a nap or just a quiet place to be alone with a good book.
Check in. As a
child, when my great-uncle Bart phoned, whoever answered heard,
“Hello, Darlin’. You’re looking good. What plans do you have for this bright,
beautiful day?” Likewise, my dentist told me that while his children set the
dinner table each evening, he and his wife take 20 minutes to check in with
each other about how their day went.
Attention is a gift we give each other. It’s a loving act that grows out of awareness and consideration for others. So this week, start paying attention to how you’re paying attention. Make adjustments, if necessary.