Let’s face it. In today’s digital world, we are dominated by gadgets and technology that are supposed to make us more connected. But if you’ve ever found yourself struggling to stay present in a conversation, you’re not alone. According to a recent study from Microsoft, the age of the smartphone has actually left us with shorter attention spans than that of a goldfish. When it comes to engaging with your customers, you can’t afford to be distracted. So how do you stay present?
Being present means you provide complete attention to the other person by minimizing the physical and mental distractions that characterize the typical business environment. This can be incredibly difficult though because most of us spend our time dreaming about the future or rehashing the past moments of what previously occurred. In the engagement center (contact center), this is even more difficult because engagement specialists (agents) are fielding one call after another with little time in between to put aside thoughts about the previous conversation that may distract them during the next call. When engagement specialists are not present, it causes frustration and annoyance – thus creating a bad customer experience from the start. Here are a few tips to help you stay present and demonstrate you care enough to listen:
With so much competing for our attention these days, many have fallen into a trap, unfortunately, of thinking that parsing our attention is an effective way to manage the turbulent stream of messages coming at us. Research into multitasking, however, indicates that dividing our attention, at best, results in superficial thinking. In fact, while we all think we’re experts at multitasking, we’re actually only capable of handling a certain number of serial tasks in rapid sequence or a mix of automatic tasks with not so automatic tasks.
Technology provides us with a lot of power but being able to control it – instead of letting it control you – is not easy. Putting your mobile phone away and turning your email off during meetings are just two simple ways to help avoid distractions. Being present in both our personal and professional lives takes discipline and practice. However, by making a pledge to be present, you will realize optimal outcomes at work and at home. As you become more present, you’ll become deeply aware of the way your thoughts disrupt your attention. When you notice your focus drift, bring it back to the conversation.
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