Have you noticed how much I’ve enjoyed the front porch this summer? It’s been fun to fix it up to be inviting and comfortable. I like to sit out there and watch the trains go by, listen to the cicadas in the evenings, and speculate about the traffic on Gray Street. More than that, though, I treasure the opportunity I’ve had to visit there with my husband, my daughters, or dear friends at different times throughout the summer. It’s been lovely to set aside our electronic devices and just talk. I think that’s so important. My guest today is Gail Goolsby who challenges us to be “in your face and off your phone.”
Will You Accept September’s One-on-One Challenge?
by Gail Goolsby
Everyone wants to know and be known intimately by someone. We want to have relationships where connections can be quick and meaningful. September is One-on-One Month. Consider what you can do to ramp up your relationship investment.
The most important people in our lives should not have to wonder if we care about current challenges they are facing or achievements they have completed. They should be able to answer affirmatively that when they talk—we truly listen.
How can we experience the most from our meetings and conversations?
How can we communicate our presence, our full attention to the other person?
In Your Face and Off Your Phone
In today’s culture, being physically present and not looking at a phone are keys to quality conversations.
In a 2014 study conducted by Shalini Misra from Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, people were observed from a distance conversing in a coffee shop. More than factors of age, gender, ethnicity, mood, topic, or relationship closeness, the presence of mobile devices impacted the overall satisfaction of interaction between participants. The absence of mobile devices resulted in higher level reports of empathy and superior communication.
With the present technology overload, device-free gatherings are unusual, whether in a restaurant, home, or conference room. The challenge is daunting but vital. Put aside beeping, blinking, tweeting equipment when engaging a person or a group.
Presence is Proximity and Purpose
When we do have the opportunity to connect one-on-one with a friend, family member, co-worker, or employee, we show our desire to be present with:
- Curiosity (find out something new)
- Good questions (go for deeper than surface reports on work and activities)
- Engagement (make eye contact, maintain positive body language)
- Appreciation (share something valuable about person)
- Active, responsive listening (don’t interrupt, occasionally check for understanding)
- Focus (avoid looking around, letting thoughts wander)
- Humor (tell a funny anecdote to release endorphins for everyone)
Satisfaction for All
Maybe the exchange happens while walking through the neighborhood or during a car ride. Perhaps in a kitchen, park, coffee shop, break room, or child’s room before bedtime.
Wherever, whenever the chat takes place, plan to be present and phone-free and make it a quality time that both of you will enjoy.
Accept the September One-On-One challenge and purpose to have satisfying conversations with the important people in your life. Who will be first on your list?
Gail Goolsby, MA, MEd is a lifelong educator, including past leadership at an international school in Afghanistan. Gail and her pastor husband of 38 years live where the wind blows over the prairie in south Kansas. She counsels and coaches using God’s Word to help others learn to live well. www.gailgoolsby.com