I think we underestimate the amount of energy it takes to truly be present.
When someone says, “I need you there”, it typically does not mean to occupy a random seat at the table. There is an expectation of a fully engaged, thoughtful and attentive YOU.
For many of us there is a limited bandwidth in terms of our “presence”. The portability and connectivity of smartphones, tablets, laptops provide opportunities to derail our “presence” even further.
It takes a tremendous amount of discipline to remain present and fully engaged. I know that I have a capacity of about 40 minutes of stretch in most settings in which I can deliver my absolute best. I have friends that have a 15 minute tolerance window and they will either fade, walk or take over the event with their agenda. In our musings on the subject we’ve referred to it as our max capacity, attention lid, bandwidth, tolerance factor, and focus limit.
When someone says, “you’ve got 5 minutes”, they really mean it and it might be better to pause and wait for that future window of 30 minutes.
I’m an admirer of those that truly “bring it” in every setting they commit to in their work. They amaze me and I want to be more like them. Adopting a strategy of true schedule awareness — what is on the horizon, where must the focus lie, define any desired outcomes, remain agile, what’s the agenda, etc. Don’t predict the meeting or event, prepare your “presence” within it. It doesn’t hurt to turn the phone off either.
Interestingly those that have mastered their “presence” are the busiest yet most successful I know and work with each day.
What are your strategies for bringing YOU?