Have you ever had an amazing conversation while driving?
How about when you have been talking on the phone while walking around the house or office?
I have…lots of times.
In fact, my wife and I have made some of our most major life decisions while driving in the car together.
I’ve coached numerous team members to successful change while setting up tables for a conference event at camp.
I’ve had more youth open up to me about pain, fear or other problems while kicking a soccer ball back and forth than have ever done so sitting in my office.
- People want you to listen to them, but they don’t want you to judge them.
- People want you to hear them, but they don’t normally want to see your reaction.
- People want you to help them, but they don’t always need you to do it with words.
We are normally told to give people our 100% undivided attention. This is true. Yet, I’m afraid it’s not complete.
Start with undivided, but add a distraction when needed.
There are good and bad distractions.
- Using your phone.
- Typing on your computer.
- Making comments totally off topic.
- Kicking a soccer ball back-and-forth
- Carrying and moving stuff
- Picking up toys
- Driving together
- Cooking together
- Playing a board game
- Exercising together
The key is to be focused on what the other person is saying while you actively listen. While sharing something else that has your “attention”.
You are focused enough to hear and respond. Yet distracted enough you won’t be judging them.
They are focused enough to share and listen. But distracted enough to keep the little voices in their head silent.
I’ve also noticed that they talk longer and share more. The more you know, the more direct and useful your coaching can be. (tweet that)
Next time a conversation around a concern is needed, consider doing it over a shared task.
This works with your kids or others. With your team at work and your spouse at home. In simply works with everyone.
What are examples of bad or good distraction you can think of? What are types of conversations you wouldn’t want to add a distraction?