Here’s something to notice today, as you interact with people: Are you both fully present as you interact, or are either of you distracted, with your minds in another place and time?
The first step to creating a relationship-building encounter, instead of a relationship-eroding transaction, is for you and the person with whom you are interacting to be 100% present, fully-engaged in the moment.
Throughout the day today, pay attention, and in each interaction you have with another person rate how present each of you were. Maybe you were on a cell phone call as you paid for things at Walgreens. Don’t give yourself a high grade on that one – 30%, max. Maybe you could tell that your client was checking emails while you talked to him on the phone. He was certainly less that 100% present.
On the other hand, maybe you and another person had a great discussion about a project, and for 20 minutes neither of you was distracted by anything. Give yourselves an A+, 100%. Or you went into an appliance store and a sales clerk completely engaged with you and helped you figure out the perfect flat screen for your living room. Grade both of you highly.
Being present, fully engaged in the moment, is tough, especially in our multi-tasking, over-busy, deadline-driven world. But, even though being fully present is difficult, you can’t have a relationship-building encounter with a customer if you aren’t 100% there, engaged in the moment. So the choice is clear. Be scattered, giving your customers a portion of your attention, and have transactions. Or, be fully present, engaged in the moment, and have the chance at relationship-building encounter.
If you haven’t downloaded my free ebook, Encounters, please do. (Or, see Chapter 2 in We) There are many tips for helping yourself be fully-present in a customer encounter, and ideas for inviting your customer to be engaged in the moment with you.
But, for today, just notice. Pay attention to the level of engagement in your interactions.
And remember, if you answer your cell phone or check your Blackberry while you are talking with someone, you are not fully present. Like being absent on the day of a pop quiz, your grade will drop. Resist the temptation! Be there!