Say it: “Are you here?”

 

“Cause all you see, is where else you could be …”

–    Death Cab for Cutie, Your Heart is an Empty Room, from the album Plans

Isn’t it frustrating when you fully commit yourself to an interaction with someone, but you can tell that they aren’t fully engaged with you?

This happens all of the time – people’s eyes wander while you talk with them, their answers to your questions betray that they have lost the thread of the conversation, you hear them clicking away on their computer keyboard while you talk on the phone.  Ugh.

Don’t feel like you’ve done something; it’s usually not your fault.  As Eckardt Tolle said, the present is a place most of us visit only infrequently.  Non-engagement is a symptom of our over-scheduled, over-saturated lives and the myth that we are able to multi-task.

But, it’s a big problem: The first requirement for a relationship-building encounter is that you and the other person are both fully-engaged in the moment.  Without full engagement, you will have a relationship-diluting transaction.

Here’s my challenge to you for the upcoming week:  Call people out when you see they are not engaged.

Ok.  It’s a bit uncomfortable.  But think of it this way:  You are devoting valuable moments of your life to an interaction with someone, and they are not equally willing to commit to the encounter.  You are there, and they aren’t. What a waste of your time.  What a waste of a slice of life.

Go ahead. Say it.  “Are you here with me?”   “Do you want me to wait until you finish whatever it is you are typing, and then we can continue talking?”  “Is something else distracting you? Do you want me to wait a minute while you take care of it?”

You are not the one who should feel uncomfortable.  My associate, Caroline Ceisel, and I work together most every day.  Caroline has no trouble telling me if she thinks my mind is elsewhere when we are talking about something.  The result?  I am especially conscious of giving her my full attention when we talk.

Do it. You will have an opportunity today. You will be speaking with someone and you will discern that their mind is wandering. Call the other person out.  And then, watch what happens.  They will not only engage more fully in the present moment, they will also engage more fully with you in the future.

Tagged with: , , , , ,
Posted in Customer Encounters
8 comments on “Say it: “Are you here?”
  1. bonnieL says:

    Yes Steve, the state of being “fully engaged” deserves to be revived. Even on one-to-one chat I can feel that the person on the other end has multiple windows open while chatting with me.

    Sadder, still, is the fact that many have also lost the art of being fully engaged with themselves.

    Count me in to point it out to others.

    Yar,
    bonnieL
    triiibe on!

  2. bonnieL says:

    Steve wrote: *what tells you that someone is not even engaged with themselves?*

    The constant need to be engaged with “something.”
    The always-on, always-connected mentality. It’s a frenetic aura of not wanting to be alone with ones’ “self” that follows some wherever they go.

    eg. 1
    When exercising, there’s nothing quite like listening
    to one’s own body, yet, rather than listening to their heartbeats or their thoughts, people watch TV, listen to their i-Pods, read a magazine – anything – other than listen to themselves.

    eg. 2
    We sometimes lose our temper – but rather than engaging with ourselves and asking “why,” we just go on losing our tempers.

    eg. 3
    The insatiable need to talk to others – constantly – on the phone – to anyone – about anything – or about nothing.

    That’s just three examples, you and your readers have probably observed many others.

    yar my friend,
    bonnieL
    triiibe on!

    • Thanks for these examples … Explains why I went to both a guided meditation session and a yoga class today! If we can’t at peace with our own mind, and feel calm with our own thoughts, how can we engage with others? Nice observation. (Have a yar day tomorrow!)

    • You are so right, Bonnie. People never take the opportunity to know themselves and yet they wonder why they aren’t happy. Until they get all this interpersonal stuff figured out, they will keep having a tough time with business!

  3. Nathan says:

    A subtlety not mentioned directly in the blog post that it’s important to always use the form of a question.

    That is, “Are you here with me?” is far better than, “You’re not paying attention to me.”

    The former is is an accusation, the latter is a question. A question gets better results than an accusation. An accusation can be wrong, but a question is rarely improper.

    Also: ask with genuine curiosity, not in an angry or annoyed tone.

    Steve’s examples are all in the form of a question, which I agree with. However, I don’t agree with Steve’s encouragement to “call people out on it.” It reads to me as if Steve is saying “accuse them [of not paying attention].”

  4. Nathan – I like your recommendation to ask a question, as opposed to make an accusation. The reason you’re right goes beyond the obvious, i.e., that it is more polite.

    The thing you want to do is engage the other person in the moment with you. You need to invite the other person to be there with you, and questions are a good step to doing this, because listening invites.

1 Pings/Trackbacks for "Say it: “Are you here?”"
  1. […] wrote a post back in December called, Are you here? in which I encouraged readers to call people out if they are not paying attention during a […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Subscribe to the Blog
Email:  

On Steve's Mind
Get Steve's newsletter featuring his ideas and practical advice delivered to your email inbox.
* = required field
Latest Tweets
Testimonials
Craig Dwight
Steve’s approach to integrating all customer contacts into a comprehensive marketing message is a must in today’s information age. We have partnered with Steve to develop our integrated and comprehensive marketing message, and as a result of his excellent work, his new book is required reading for all of our employees.

Craig Dwight

Chairman & CEO, Horizon Bancorp
Alex von Bidder
Steve Yastrow's teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
roma-maxwell
Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand, and our experience with them was empowering, fun and a great learning opportunity. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Alex von Bidder
In these high pressure times of bite-size communications we all hunger to be listened to and cared for individually. Our customers know great hospitality, the kind that is not about selling but treating their needs as our highest priority. Steve Yastrow’s teachings are applicable to any business that values long-standing success based on personal relationships.

Alex von Bidder

Managing Partner, The Four Seasons Restaurant, New York
David Sank
I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that is intent on enhancing their customer experience. Prior to working with Steve, we were communicating various messages to customers. Steve and his team helped us achieve a cohesive brand message that we as a company live daily. Steve is an incredible listener and learned the nuances of our business rapidly. I can’t imagine anyone Yastrow and Company couldn’t help.

David Sank

President and CEO, Calico Cottage
Mike Depatie
Steve Yastrow is at the forefront of the next evolution in marketing. We have implemented many of his innovative ideas... and have seen very positive results.

Mike Depatie

CEO, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants
Doug Ducey
In one morning, Steve re-energized the way we look at marketing. The only question we had at the end of the session was, ‘When can we get him back?'

Doug Ducey

CEO & Chairman, Cold Stone Creamery, Governor of Arizona
roma-maxwell
Rancho La Puerta has enjoyed continued success because of the work we did with Yastrow and Company. Together, we implemented business strategies that have contributed to our success. Steve and his team truly believe in our brand. I highly recommend Yastrow and Company to any business that needs help building the bottom line.

Roma Maxwell

Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Jennifer Whelan
Our work with Yastrow and Company yielded the best long-term value of any consulting engagement we’ve ever had. As we grow and expand internationally, Acuative continues to depend on the branding approach and marketing tools Steve and his team developed. Yastrow and Company genuinely partnered with us, were exceptionally responsive and remain committed to our success.

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative
Ward Alles
Steve Yastrow knows his stuff. That's why our management team has read all of his books. And that's why we've had him as a keynote speaker at both client and employee events. From creating brand alignment, to selling more effectively, to providing top-notch customer service, Steve offers words of wisdom based on real-life experiences. He always engages his audiences with questions, interactive exercises and great storytelling that keep you coming back for more. Read Steve's books. Then book Steve. You'll be glad you did.

Ward Alles

CEO, Core Creative
jim-winter
Steve put together a program that produced spectacular results, and the quality of our communication and customer satisfaction is vastly improved. I’ve been in business for 40 years, and Steve’s the first consultant that I’ve gotten my money’s worth from. We’re going to continue to work with Steve and the bright, energetic people that are on his team.

Jim Winter

COO, Dimension Design
Ditch the Pitch is a great read-- interesting, fun, and easy to follow. And I’ve already seen the concepts work. Just yesterday, I called a client and had a conversation that was 95% about the client, as the book suggests. At the end of the call, he sent a new matter my way. I ditched the pitch and it resulted in new business.

Attorney

Chicago, IL
Rhoda Olsen
Steve Yastrow has clearly described the emotional reality of customer relationships and their impact on profitable business growth.

Rhoda Olsen

President, Great Clips for Hair
Marc Allen
We are absolutely better off after engaging Yastrow and Company. They helped us look at our business from our clients’ perspective, resulting in a cultural shift throughout our organization. These changes have made a big impact - we’ve gained new clients and strengthened relationships with existing clients. The investment was well worth it.

Marc Allen

Vice President of Sales, AMD Industries
Chris Tucker
Steve is a creative and collaborative speaker who communicates his ideas clearly and concisely. He immediately understood our business needs and provided a better perspective on how our customers see us as a company. I have referred Steve to our customers in the past and I will continue to do so. He’s intuitive and has a unique way of looking at business. Steve has the experience to turn a project into something extremely valuable for any organization. I strongly recommend working with Yastrow and Company.

Chris Tucker

Director of Business Development, MBX Systems
Jennifer Whelan
“Steve’s workshops helped bring out what is best at Acuative. His insights were fresh and long-lasting—we continue to use his tools and approach years later.”

Jennifer Whelan

Vice President of Marketing, Acuative
Tom Peters
When Steve Yastrow writes, I pay close attention.

Tom Peters

Founder, Tom Peters Company
jim-evans
Yastrow and Company introduced Brand Harmony and their Be the Brand concept to our team at Jenny Craig.  I believe these new ideas contributed in helping us triple the company's revenue during my years as CEO.

Jim Evans

former President and CEO, Jenny Craig
american-licorice-logo
We have seen huge benefits from Steve's input. Steve is unlike any other consultant I've ever worked with. He takes a genuine, deep-seated interest in our business. He is intuitive and able to identify problem issues quickly. We wouldn't be as far along in acheiving of our long-term growth strategy if we hadn't actively and aggressively pursued Steve's Brand Harmony.

Michael MacDonald

Executive VP Sales and Marketing, American Licorice Co.
roma-maxwell
I give Steve two thumbs up—five thumbs up, if I had that many!

Roma Maxwell

Roma Maxwell, Director of Sales and Marketing, Rancho La Puerta
Kathleen Phillips
Not only is Steve's content sound, but the energy he displays in delivering it will knock your socks off.

Kathleen Phillips

Ernst & Young, Chicago, IL
Chris Miller
I rarely book speakers more than once. But I’ve used Steve four times! Steve has our association’s interest at heart and works tirelessly to deliver customized programs. He always ranks highly with our affiliates because he is outcome-focused, fast-paced and highly engaging. Anyone looking for insight and understanding into marketing, branding and sales should book Steve!

Chris Miller

Executive Director, Professional Systems Network International