This article is the introduction and will be part of a 4 article series on engaging communication.
Have you ever compared the interactions you have on weekends or night out with friends with the interactions you have with clients/coworkers? For me, the discussions, the interaction, the communication with friends are much more engaging. I believe the same goes for you, or everyone really. When I look at people’s eyes during the weekdays, I often see dead fish eyes, unenthusiastic and bored.
It doesn’t have to be that way. We can start improving our communication skills, our quality of interactions throughout the day, that we can bring our whole selves, that typically appear only on leisure time, to even business meetings and work!
That is the premise of this series, to be able to communicate effectively and engagingly. To bring your A-game, regardless of the circumstance.
We need to be reminded that as technology becomes more pervasive in our lives, there are more and more distractions available to take us away from being in the moment. Why does this matter in this series? Because with more distractions, people have more ways to ignore you.
Imagine 100 years ago, if you want to ignore someone talking, at most you have a book/paper or just leave the premise. Now? Whip out your phone ladies and gentlemen, because you have an imaginary text that you absolutely have to respond right this instant!
An interesting article by the Independent on British attention span lists these as the fastest ways to get people bored:
- Listening to people moaning / gossiping about a stranger leads us to tune out after 6 minutes
- In calls with clients/customers, employees gets bored after 7 minutes
- While watching TV, an average adult loses concentration after 7 minutes
- Listening to chatty colleagues gets boring after 9 minutes
- Phone calls with family and loved ones gets boring after 9 minutes
- Motorists loses focus and goes on ‘auto-pilot’ after 10 minutes
- Finance related meetings or conversations loses people after 10 minutes
- In meetings, people lose focus after 13 minutes
This paints a dire picture on how much time you have before you lose that person in front of you. But it’s not all bad, the article also mentioned that attention spans are longer in situations which involve friends or hobbies, such as:
- 15 minutes for a good book
- 24 minutes for a movie
- 29 minutes for a social engagement such as going out with friends
As you can see from the list above, most of the things that makes people lose focus easily is related to work/office, while going out with friends tops the list on the things that makes people focused for a longer time. This relates back to the key point of this series mentioned in the beginning of this article, that there’s a great difference of result & quality of interaction between work related stuff and hobby/friends related stuff.
Therefore, we need to start improving our communication skills in order to improve our quality of interactions everyday.
I believe there are 3 key points in interactions, all equally powerful when properly used.
- Message/Story Packaging
- Body Gestures
- Supporting Media
Each of these points warrants a following article and will be the next 3 parts of this series. Look out for the next parts!