Engagement is Easy #58
For most busy people, we justify our actions by the number of items crossed off a list, the number of events attended, the number of tasks we can complete in a day.
While we’re busy doing all we do, we encounter other people. Whether we are multitasking, searching our devices, reading a paper, looking at a screen or doing a task – often we do this as they are communicating with us. Sometimes even during our meetings – where we’re supposed to be engaged, prepared and interacting with the people attending.
How often are you doing only one thing? How often are you fully present for those people you interact with? I mean fully present. Where there’s only you and the person or people you’re with. You’re prepared, planning to make that conversation matter like it’s the only one that matters (because really it is). Do you go to presentations and park your devices? During our sessions we ask teams to park all technology for this purpose. To maximize the value of their time, energy and money. After all, they have their highest paid employees all at the table for eight hours at a time. The resulting focus and productivity we have during our sessions is maximized by this simple act.
Now, imagine doing this for every interaction you have. The only conversation is the one you’re in. With your teams, your family, your friends and the friends you haven’t met yet. Sound unreasonable? It’s not.
We spend so much time, energy and money these days trying to figure out engagement with our people when it is our issue. As leaders, what we do matters. All the time. Your teams and family will only follow what you are willing to do. No exceptions.
Engagement is a result of people being present and doing more than hearing the words spoken to get to the next thing, waiting for their turn to talk or pass the time. If you want engagement, offer it. Model it, share it, ask for it and praise it when it happens. Create a desire in people to want to be part of something where you are because it’s exciting, interesting and well, engaging.
Go ahead and try it. Worst case, your device will be there ready with a hundred things to pass your time and over time the people will stop bothering you, I promise.