- Don’t worry about forgetting your thought. If it’s important, God will help you remember it later.
- Don’t look at your cell phone. If you are expecting an important call, let the person know up front.
- Set the expectation and do what’s necessary so that you might continue the conversation in the future. If you can cover important points in a later interaction, you can relax during this interaction.
- Trade contact information. With strangers, offer yours first, and ask for the other person’s, but don’t expect it.
- In this first interaction, focus on developing the sort of rapport that makes future interactions possible.
- If you come at the conversation humbly, you can worry less and devote less mental energy to coming up with answers on the spot.
- “I’d like to think about this.”
- “I’m not sure how to respond to that. Could I think about it and get back to you?”
- If you ask clarifying questions instead of assuming you know what a person means, you almost can’t fail at being present.
- If you genuinely seek areas of common ground (“I think you’ve made a good point.”), you almost cannot fail at being present.
- Study Up: The more you know, the less you’ll struggle with tracking with the ideas discussed. You can focus more attention on the person.