Office Etiquette Rule Number 3: Pay Attention

Etiquette Rule Number 3: Pay Attention

Do yourself a favor. When you sit with someone pay attention. Start by lifting your smartphone up out of your pocket. Place it on the table and make a point of turning it off. When you do this you are saying to the other person, "You are important. I am here to listen and what you have to say is important."

If you have a laptop on your desk, close your laptop if someone comes to your office to talk. Listen. Listen. Listen

If the listening gets hard, grab and pen and paper and take notes. But pay attention. You might miss something swimming under the surface that can bite you. People say things that you really might not catch their meaning of and thereby get yourself hurt and sometimes eaten.

There are exceptions of course. If you really don't have time, ask the person if this can wait. If it can. Say great. Find a time when the two of you can get together, and then follow through, unless the other person says later, the problem took care of itself.

In most cases, problems take care of themselves. People aren't as emotional about something a day or two later.

If you take the call or the meeting, then you are there. So be there. Don't multi-process. Don't do emails or reports while listening. People who are on the phone can hear you typing. I know you think you can get away with that little sneak peek of that email coming through. But it's not true. You can't. No one can do two things at the same time that requires thought. Yes, you can pat your head and rub your tummy. But thinking is a one-at-a-time event. No two ways about it. Your brain can only process one-thing-at-a-time.  So be wherever you are.

Pay attention or you will be paying for this in reputation or missed expectations later. Or worse, you may be eaten.

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