Tips for Being Present, Part 2: Being Present in Conversations on Important Topics

  • 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. 
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