Have you ever thought of the impression that you give someone during a conversation when you’re multitasking? Next time you’re in a restaurant, look around and see how many people are clicking away on their devices and not paying attention to the person right across the table. Between smart phones, laptops, tablets, and other digital devices in the market today, we can be reached anywhere at any time. Now, add in the fact that we have to do so much more in less time. As I started to give a lot of thought to how much I “multitask,” I decided to work on this for myself. It has made a major impact on getting things done right the first time. It’s amazing what you hear when you give your undivided attention.
Here are my TOP 3 REASONS why you shouldn’t multitask during a conversation!
1. IT IS REALLY BAD FOR BUSINESS
Despite your belief that you are superman and can do more than one thing at a time, you can’t. You’re going to miss something, and your effectiveness will suffer. I remember sitting in a weekly sales meeting a few weeks ago, and I was busy reading and answering emails on my smart phone, not paying any real attention to the conversation that was going on around the table. Even though it looked like I was participating, when it came time for my involvement, I was totally lost and embarrassed that I had to ask them to start the conversation over. So is it really bad for business? The answer is yes. You will inevitably miss part of the interaction.
2. IT IS RUDE.
The person you’re speaking with knows that you aren’t paying full attention to them, so why should they give you their undivided attention? When I deal with my clients and prospects, I have learned to leave all distractions behind. The person that I’m dealing with is someone I want to do business with. If you get distracted during a key conversation, you can kiss that opportunity goodbye. This will leave the person feeling unimportant, less empowered, and unlikely to want to deal with you and your organization. My goal is to represent myself and my organization, setting the bar high and raising their expectations on our quality of service and what they can expect from me moving forward.
3. ITS UNPRODUCTIVE
Ironically, we multitask to save time and be more productive, but we actually miss information because we aren’t truly paying attention to the conversation. When most of us work on our computers, we look down and miss important and powerful signals that are being sent along with the person’s words. Often, the way a person’s inflection, movement, and facial expressions speak louder than the actual words themselves, and if you don’t catch them, it could impact your decision making process.
MY CHALLENGE TO YOU
Next time you have conversation with someone do these 3 simple things:
1) Close your laptop/minimize all screens and applications,
2) Set your phones and smartphones on mute and put them face down,
3) MAKE EYE CONTACT
4) Focus on listening to what they are saying.
Try this for a week or two and see how much more you actually get out of your conversation when you’re really paying attention and not multitasking. I’ll bet you’ll be surprised that you learned something that you wouldn’t have if you had been multitasking. And if you look at that person at the end of the conversation, I’ll bet you’ll see that they are more motivated and engaged.