Give the Gift of Presence: How to Improve Trust With Your Team and Clients

I was sitting in my doctor's office. She'd just done an exam for causes of my vertigo (fortunately benign) and was speedily typing her notes into the computer. A little hesitantly, I said, "I forgot, I have another question". She immediately stopped typing, and swiveled her chair to face me, expectant. I asked my question, and after fully answering it, she turned back to the computer. Wow, I thought. That was an awesome example of presence. I felt seen. I felt heard. I felt important to her. That kind of presence has unfortunately become more rare in the business world, as we all feel pressed for time. We all have many tugs on our attention and time.
How often do you see people attending a meeting and instead of listening to the person speaking, they're staring at their laps? They've tucked their phones out of sight and are busily texting. As the speaker, how do you feel when you look out and see people not paying attention? How do you feel about those who are looking at you and listening actively? Our focused attention and engagement, our presence, affects how people see us. The times we spend together are an opportunity. Like Ralph Waldo Emerson, "what you do screams so loudly that I can't hear what you say". It's not enough to tell someone they're important to you. You have to show them. When you choose to pay close attention when you're with someone, you're sending a message that they are important to you, that they are valued. You build trust and connection when you offer customers, team members, vendors, and colleagues the gift of your presence. They know that they are appreciated.   This kind of sincere connection can't be faked. It has to be sincere.