Introducing our guest blogger Hilary Buswell who is MBA module leader at the University of Bradford School of Management.  Also pleased to announce her as one of our community experts on our website.

I have recently found myself questioning how much attention we are paying to our immediate surroundings and, more importantly, to those we are with.  The constant distractions of background noise and ubiquitous technology seem to divert and fragment our attention.  Perhaps other people are able to juggle these competing stimuli, but I find it a challenge both to maintain my own focus and to gain the notice of those I am with.

Why does this matter?  I believe the ability truly to pay attention is one of the most powerful but underused attributes we have.  At a practical level, it enables us to concentrate, to listen to what is said, to avoid misunderstandings and to get it right first time.  At a deeper level, it enables us to build meaningful relationships through the respect it demonstrates to those we are with.  At the deepest level, perhaps it enables us to live more richly and authentically in the present:

‘We all have a personal presence which others can detect.  It is a feature of the personal energy that we, and all living things, possess.’ *

For me, this awareness of the need to pay attention creates a moment of calm in the rush of everyday life.   It enables rapport to develop and brings renewed energy.

I’m sure I’m not saying anything we don’t already know, but an occasional reminder may be useful.  What would it be like to switch off the background noise, phone and email for a while and to notice what else you can hear?

*(Dembkowski, Eldridge & Hunter (2006) The Seven Steps of Effective Executive Coaching; Thorogood)


By Hilary Buswell

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