How many times have you left a meeting, presentation or a training session and said to yourself, “that was a waste of time”. Perhaps the meeting facilitator was not prepared, or the presentation didn’t resonate with you, or maybe the training session offered little in the way of new skills for you. Consider for a second, how focused were you? How many times did you check your smartphone or how many e-mails did you send? Did you give the session an opportunity to derive some benefit from it? Were you truly present? What are some of the benefits of being present at work, and how can you achieve it?
What does it mean to be present?
When you’re present, everything about you – what you’re thinking and what you’re feeling is completely focused, and centered on what it is you are doing at that moment. We are not thinking about what happened earlier, or what we’re going to do next. When you’re present you’re completely connected, concentrating on, and tuned in to what is happening right now.
Benefit # 1 – better business interactions. As an example, let’s say you’re in a one-on-one sales discussion with a potential customer. When you’re present, you’re focused on the interaction with the person and nothing else. You’re not thinking about what you had for breakfast or the report you need to finish by the end of the day. By being present you’re able to listen better, you pick up on, and sense things, better. When you’re present you can focus completely on the interaction and contribute real value.
Benefit # 2 – Better problem solving ability. In business, problems arise – out of stocks occur, sales forecasts are not met, etc. You can catastrophize business problems – overreact to them, and put yourself in a situation where you’re paralyzed and unable to think clearly. On the other hand, you can choose to relax and be present. When you’re present you’re focused on the problem and only the problem and you can sidestep the distractions that prevents you from finding a solution.
Benefit # 3 – Increased productivity. There are many approaches to help increase productivity and being present is an incredible one. You’ve got a deadline coming and you start to worry, you get caught up in the “what if” thinking, and you get totally stressed out, and become unproductive. You’re not focused on the tasks at hand. Rather, you’re preoccupied with negative self-chatter and worry. When you’re present you can focus and you can recognize and eliminate the things that don’t move your project or your work forward.
How to be present?
It boils down to adopting the philosophy of being present and taking a disciplined approach to stay with it. As you encounter various business situations take the following steps to be present:
Step 1. Stop, assess how present you are?
Step 2. Re-acknowledge your commitment to being present.
Step 3. Focus completely on your breathing for a few moments. Allow yourself to become centered, focused on the now and grounded.
Step 4. Engage in the business activity.
Being present in business situations may seem easy, but it’s not. It takes discipline. However, by making a commitment to be present, you will realize great professional and personal rewards. Try it for a week and keep a journal. Write down the situation – a meeting, a presentation, a training session, what steps you took to be present, and the outcome.