Attention is a cultural currency.
You spend and receive it in all the social and professional interactions you make.
Without it, all of your relationships would wither and die. And there is such a thing as too much attention.
Too much attention can spoil a child, smother a partner or micromanage a team member.
Not enough attention can impact a child on the emotional level and affect ability to create healthy relationships. If you take the extreme example of feral children who’ve grown up without any parental attention, you’ll see how attention transmits all the things we consider to be human.
Attention is fundamental to relationships and can be thought of as the life-blood of communication.
And because there’s a spectrum of attention that can be given, we can assume that there are some kinds of attention which are more conducive to growing relationships.
Let’s make another assumption; that the quality of attention is a function of its quantity, its constancy and its meaning or intention behind it.
And it’s important to know what it’s like to give no attention, minimal attention, full attention and everything in between.
Then realise that your levels of, (constancy and quantity of), attention are also coloured by the intention you have.
So what’s the best kind of attention? The kind that you can cultivate and use to enhance and grow your relationships…?? The kind that will accelerate your communication skills?
Surely the only real answer to this question is one that refers to the moment in time that attention is being shared!
Because the answer is about finding a balance between quantity, constancy and colour. A balance which takes your audience into account. It’s only by engaging with the person or people in front of you that you can gauge what kind of attention to proffer.
You’ve got to pay attention to whomever is in front of you and adjust according to your real-time perceptions of them. And that brings us to an answer we can use…
The best kind of attention is one that is present and heeds the moment.
When you’re with your family, your loved-ones, your colleagues… anyone who you care about, give them your attention. Be present to them and notice all that you can about them. Look in their eyes. Notice their posture and expressions. Listen to the words they use and the tone of their voice. Notice anything you can about them, as they are in the moment.
Drawing conclusions or giving feedback is not necessary. Your attention will be felt. If your intention is to nourish, that’s how you’ll be received. That’s because attention is to human relationships as water is to life.
And not just human relationships… imagine a troop of chimpanzees. Lounging around of an evening. Clustered according to social status. Those who want to climb the social ladder use the legal tender: grooming.
By giving each other their undivided attention, in this case, going through the hair, picking out the nits and ticks.
Isn’t it so direct of these pre-linguistic creatures, to give attention like this?!!
Fortunately for our social mores we don’t need to eat insects from each other’s backs! We can use language and communicate instead!!
When you’re communicating and you want to influence and/or grow the relationship, clarify your intention – be clear about what you want and what you’re willing to share.
Give your full attention to making and maintaining a connection. It’s your attention that fuels communication and gives it its meaning.
Click here for the next part of this series:
Your most valuable resource… Part 3 – Money
Your most valuable resource… Part 4 – The Big Questions
Do you want to take the power of your communication to the next level, successfully nurturing, growing and influencing your important relationships? Click here to have an informal chat with Khalil about what you can do to tap your most valuable hidden resource.