If you want a better connection with people? Listen more, speak less.

Have you ever attended a meeting or spoken to someone on the phone, and you know you don’t have their full attention? How connected do you feel?

My brother was hugely irritated with me recently because I was busying myself in the kitchen preparing a meal while speaking with him.

It had been a long day, and I was hungry and needed to get something to eat. We were in the middle of a heart-to-heart which required my full attention.

I was trying to do two things at once and, frustratingly, he said, “Mort, call me back when you’re finished.”

In reflection, I knew I had not given him my full attention.

Not giving full attention happens in meetings where the person you’ve arranged to meet is constantly distracted by others, being put on mute during a call or looking distracted—all steps to killing rapport and not building good relationships.

You may have a manager who does not give you their full attention but expects you to understand the task at hand. Or a significant other who feels reading text messages or the tv while pretending to listen to you mean you still have their undivided.

One of the key benefits of paying attention is that the person feels listened to, which goes a long way to building connection and rapport.

Here are a couple of tips about paying attention:
– Ask if it’s a good time to speak when you call and if it’s not,
be honest and say so

– Prepare your time to be present and give your full attention.

– Don’t just start speaking when the person has finished; paraphrase
what you’ve heard – that is powerful for building rapport.

– Give direct eye contact to show you’re listening.

– Put on silent – any device – phone, tablet or TV.

– While on a call, avoid switching calls, using call waiting,
saying, hold on, let me take this other call. It has
become quite normal to do this, but it is frustrating
and the most disconnected thing you could do.

Paying attention builds a feeling of connectedness and deepens relationships.