Chapter 1. Why Connect?: Attention Management

Engage or Be Ignored

Does this sound familiar? You're sharing an idea in a meeting when a sinking feeling washes over you that no one is paying attention. A quick scan of the room confirms it. Some people are distractedly thumbing BlackBerry devices under the table. Others have dashed out to take phone calls. Still others are fidgeting with text messages. The few who are not ignoring you are so impatient that they cut you off and talk over you.

That's what happened to David, an emerging leader at a global consumer product company. It was happening in everyday conversations, but it really upset him when it occurred during a presentation.

David was puzzled, thinking what went wrong? He'd spent endless hours preparing for his big moment—gathering information, confirming facts, and painstakingly creating dozens of difficult slides. He had immersed himself in preparation. Yet, when he stood in front of his audience to deliver the message, he lost them at hello.

David experienced the most common communication breakdown facing business professionals today: he failed to connect. He didn't manage his audience's attention. As a result, he had no chance to convey his message so they'd clearly understand it, or convince others to make decisions and take action.

Chances are this has happened to you today, in a conversation, a phone call that wasn't returned, or even an ignored e-mail. In this chapter, you'll discover the first step for communicating ...

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