It is no surprise that in a world full of distractions, we find difficulties in feeling more present during the day. Sometimes this can be of little to no problem, but other times being focused on the task at hand makes all the difference. Conversations and personal connection are the same. Little elevator talks will not bring you to the moon, so there is no shame if you don’t spend all yourself in them. The problem comes when you want to be present and a great active listener, but it seems like you are not there at all. There might be a lot of different reasons for this, but this is not our focus today. In this article, we want to give you five practical exercises you can use to feel more present during your essential conversations.
1 Focus on Breathe to Feel More Present in a Conversation
This point might sound silly, but if you have ever tested yourself with meditation, you are probably already familiar with this concept. P.S. daily meditation might help make you feel more present during your everyday living. During meditation (at least at basic level practice) your main focus is on feeling your breathing. When you find yourself lost in your thoughts, wondering about the future and the past, you gently bring the attention back to your breath. In simple words, breathing acts as an anchor to keep you on track. In this exercise, we use the same concept. When you find yourself overthinking or not paying attention, gently shift your focus to your breathing. After a couple of breaths, you will feel heavier, and you will find yourself more present in your space. You can use this exercise not only during a conversation but really anytime you feel like you are overthinking something. It is an excellent way to calm yourself and lower your heart rate.
2 Move to Feel More Present
As it often happens, people are divided into two groups: people who are obsessed with movement, and people who neglect their physical health. And as it usually is, the right dose is in the middle. We will discuss the benefits of regular exercise another time, but now we focus on movement.
Most of us, when feeling unfocused and not present, tend to lose the perception of our position in space. Proprioception, or the awareness of yourself in the space, has two significant components: the feeling of yourself, and the recognition of the space around you. When we lose it, we tend to be more clumsy, less responsive, and less confident. Moving around allows you to feel your body and to explore the space you are in. Simply getting up from your chair and moving your arms around will make you feel more present, grounded, and confident. The next time you feel like you are losing track of your partner’s speech, stand up and move your arms a bit. You can stretch them to the sky, to your sides or only to the ground. If you can do even a couple of squats and some jumps this will change your focus to your physical health. The bigger the movement, the better it is. Just do what you feel like you can in your environment. The main idea is not to do a specific action but to move your body around.
3 Use Your Voice to Feel More Present
What do you mean saying “use your voice”? I am in a conversation; I am already using my voice.
You are right, but the point is HOW you use your voice, not IF you use it.
Have you ever seen singers or actors preparing for a performance? They scream, they make all sorts of sound, and then they calm down. While some of that is just a technique to warm up their voices, most of it is done to make them feel mentally prepared and ready for the show. They want to be there as much as they can so they can give all they have, and you want the same. Voice can be a powerful tool to improve your confidence and to recall attention, even your own. You can either use it to prepare for a meaningful conversation or to stay focused during one. When you warm up your voice before a talk, you will feel more comfortable in speaking, and subconsciously you will be less likely to get lost in your thoughts, simply because you feel good being where you are. On the other hand, making even single sounds to agree during a conversation forces you to keep track of the other person’s speech and makes your listening more active.
Do you want to read more on how powerful voice is? Check out this article on voice training and customer retention.