Do you find yourself multitasking to get through the day? Is your to-do list longer than you will ever accomplish? Do you frequent your phone to pick up messages, check your calendar, or read something interesting? If you answer yes to any of these, I’ll bet your family and friends have noticed as well.

Many of us lead active lives requiring us to multitask throughout the day. Although this skill is impressive and efficient, it comes at the cost of our ability to be present with those around us.

I recently found myself in a pattern of multitasking such that it got in the way of connecting with others. Once I recognized the cost, I made a conscious decision to be more Present and Pleasant.

How to be Present with Others

Being present goes beyond your physical existence or having a connection on the phone. It is a conscious effort to completely engage in the moment at hand. It includes activities such as:

  • Listening
  • Eye Contact
  • Proximity to the other person
  • Limiting or avoiding distractions (including electronic devices)
  • Asking questions and sharing

These activities seem simple but when we examine our actual behavior among others, we realize how easy it is to forget these elements.

How to be Pleasant with Others

Being pleasant refers to honoring your relationship and honoring the moment. Whether you are with your child, spouse, friend, family, or any relationship, you enter the interaction with calmness and genuineness. When you aim to be pleasant you will see the following results:

  • Decreased judgment, criticism, and directives
  • Increased listening, validation, support, collaboration, and cohesiveness

Being pleasant does not imply you are a “yes” person or that you have no ideas of your own. Instead, being pleasant embraces a quality of kindness, genuineness, and allows the other person to sense that you are invested in the moment.

Who Will Notice?

Everyone will notice! Challenge yourself to experiment with these behaviors and you will likely experience immediate results.

Children will notice
Children are very perceptive to when an adult is present versus multitasking. A pattern of diminished engagement with a child results in behaviors such as whining, acting out, withdrawing, or repeated requests for attention. Being present with a child will increase a sense of validation and support. Take time to sit with a child to hear what he has to say while reserving judgment and correction. Listen to how the child feels without dismissing the emotion.

Spouses and partners will notice
Is this a familiar scenario? Your phone beeps while talking with your partner. You glance at your phone, reading the message while saying “mm-hmm” as your partner continues talking. This is multitasking. Become more present by allowing the phone to beep — better yet, turn it upside down — and continue the conversation with your partner. When you focus the moment on the conversation, you remain present and enhance the relationship.

Acquaintances and colleagues will notice
Do you ever leave a conversation and can’t remember details like someone’s name, job, or the story they just shared with you? This can be solvable by being present. Making an effort to be present requires attentive listening that helps you understand and retain the information.

You will notice
Yes, you too will notice the benefits of being present and engaged. It brings a sense of calmness. It creates a more meaningful interaction. It enhances the quality of interactions and helps fulfill our desire for connection.

The benefits of being present with others are tremendous. You nurture your connections and enhance the relationships in your life. But the best news is this: When you make the decision to be more Present and Pleasant, you experience the benefits right away!

Photo by Stefan Cosma on Unsplash and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0