The ability to be attentive to others

Sensations of a tembuilding
6 May, 2021

The ability to be attentive to others

Anyone who has never nodded their head in a conversation without listening to a bit of what the other person was saying… throw the first stone!

This phenomenon is not necessarily related to a lack of interest in the conversation in question or in the other person.

ust think that this has happened with our best friends and even our children. When they are explaining to us that funny joke they made, we nod again with a vague “yes, yes”, but in our mind is something like: “I think I forgot to put my boss in CC in that email!”.

In fact, at many times, we seem to be in autopilot mode and are unable to be truly attentive to others.

The consequences for organizations are immense: identifying customer needs becomes nearly impossible; the act of leading is done very carelessly; providing value to a team becomes more rare and redundant; managing time seems to be a Herculean task and our well-being never shows tranquility and balance.

We can even understand that we are being more efficient when we pay for electricity while talking on the phone with a friend and playing with our children. Some will even understand that they are operating in a “multitasking logic”. But if you ask yourself what your friends or your children have told you, you will probably come to the opposite conclusion.

In short, we can only say that when we can't be genuinely attentive to others, our performance drops considerably.

It's a scientific fact that we spend a significant part of our day (and our lives) outside of the present tense, we've all heard about it. Tools that can help us alleviate this have also become buzzwords.

What we don't always hear is that being deeply attentive to others is also deeply tiring.

In fact, this will be the main reason why our brain switches to such autopilot mode whenever possible, using long-term memory, where the tasks we've already been able to “do without thinking” are stored (eg, nodding with the head and demonstrate connection with another): save energy.

As with other skills, this one too can be practiced: realizing you're on autopilot, stopping and paying attention – but it's difficult and tiring.

Why not try it right now to draw your own conclusions?

The exercise is simple, listen to a song and analyze its lyrics in detail, interpreting each word. As soon as you realize you have been distracted from this task because your mind has wandered, record the elapsed time of the music. Repeat with another song and try to go further, do the process a third time. At the end of this exercise, how did you feel?

Lots of different answers for different people, of course. But I'm sure the next time I listen to these songs, Nothing will ever be the same.


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