Multitasking—for example, pausing while you read this blog to toggle to a new email and back—has been shown in many recent studies to lead to errors and distraction. Nevertheless, our gadgets enable multitasking to the point where monotasking (a.k.a. “single-tasking” or, simply, doing one thing at a time) has become a skill that needs to be practiced.
Any experience can be improved by paying full attention to it, says Kelly McGonigal, a psychologist, Stanford lecturer, and author of The Willpower Instinct. Listening is among the most important of these experiences.
“Practice how you listen to people,” McGonigal urges. “Put down anything that’s in your hands and turn all of your attentional channels to the person who is talking. You should be looking at them, listening to them, and your body should be turned to them. If you want to see a benefit from monotasking, if you want to have any kind of social rapport or influence on someone, that’s the place to start. That’s where you’ll see the biggest payoff.”
We want to hear: In what circumstances do you feel you give your full attention when someone else is speaking? Would you like to improve the frequency with which you do this, and what strategies can you share? To join the conversation, click "comments" below.
If you would like to read more about creating a habit around masterful communication, check out our book: Be Quiet, Be Heard: The Paradox of Persuasion
11/8/2016 11:33:51 am
I instruct all participants in my seminars to put away their laptops and put away their phones to focus on the topic at hand. I also spent significant time helping managers develop that focus, the idea to remain present in their conversations. Also, we speak directly to the point of allowing workers to remain in a flow state, rather than multitasking and bouncing from one piece of work to another. This is all part of the same effort. Remain focused, remain present, and hopefully achieve a greater result. I'm glad you mentioned the topic.
11/8/2016 01:02:50 pm
Thanks for your insight on this topic Brian. Great points about activating focused listening. When one person (even in a group of 300) peeks at their cell phone, that's where my attention goes. Pretty sure they feel invisible, but you know and we know they aren't!
Your comment will be posted after it is approved.
Leave a Reply.