Here is one of my favorite W.S. Merwin poems, in which he encourages all of us to pay more attention.
Just this. Just this,
this room where we are. Pay attention
to that. Pay attention to who’s there.
Pay attention to what is known there.
Pay attention to what everyone
is thinking or feeling; what
you’re doing there. Pay attention.
If we could all take a moment and notice more, what would we find?
In so many ways, this poem aims at the core of what I find communication to be about: relationships.
In relationship to others.
It’s not enough to be “good” at speaking. Communication is not a one way street, nor is it a performance.
It’s about being in relationship to each other.
To connect and inspire.
Be inspired and feel connected.
We do this mostly through our presence.
There is something magical about being in a room with someone who is fully present.
What allows us to be that way?
It’s more than just bringing our bodies into the room.
We have to bring our full selves, spirit, mind, and body into focus. To do that, we need to become more curious.
One of the things that I love about this poem is how it encourages me to be more curious about where I am and what’s actually going on.
The invitation in Merwin’s poem is to pay attention to the world within ourselves and the world around us.
Those people around you, do you really know them?
“Pay attention to who’s there.”
The more curious you are about yourself and those around you, the more likely you are to see without judgment.
Consequently, the more likely you are to feel connected and connect.
Think of a time when you’ve felt connected.
What were you paying attention to?
Chances are that you were more in your body and less in your thoughts (and most likely not on your phone).
Perhaps you felt like you were listened to or seen?
Connection leads to deeper relationships, which then leads to more trust.
And trust is a form of love.
It is the glue that holds organizations together.
You strengthen or weaken a relationship through the quality of your connection.
How you are in a room, and what you pay attention to when you’re there, can impact those around you in profound ways.
Open your heart.
If you’re looking to have more influence and to increase your presence, try opening your heart.
What does this look like?
For one, it’s seeing people as they are and not as we think they are.
I’ve found that to do that, I must first be curious about the ways that I defend and block others out.
All the ways that we try to stay safe and defended are ways that we close our hearts.
“Pay attention to what everyone
is thinking or feeling; what
you’re doing there.”
Soften a little and notice.
When we do this, we make stronger connections, and communicate with greater clarity and impact.
The act of collaboration becomes about trust, rather than about a series of transactions.
And trust is something that we could use a little more of in this world.
Be on the lookout for some free, online mini-workshops in the coming months. I’ll offer one every other month to anyone who’s interested in working on their presence, their communication, and their ability to influence. I’ll let you know exact dates soon, but the next one will be on “Communicating your Value in a Pitch” or “How to get out of your own way.” See my website for details.
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