According to Steve Jobs, Focus does not mean saying yes, it means saying no. The standard of our relationships mainly depends on the quality of our conversations. In fact, staying focused is one of the most important and difficult skills required to keep the quality of our conversations.
Almost all people are struggling to stay focused when someone is talking. So, are you also one of them? Luckily, founderactivity loves to share this article with you to be a better conversationalist by staying focused.
By the way, When is the last time you enjoyed an undistracted conversation with another person? Though we are talking with an important client, a favorite person, a close friend, or a family member, most of us including me, struggling to stay focused in our interactions.
So, let’s see how to stay focused when someone is talking.
Ways to stay focused when someone is talking
In fact, the most productive and meaningful conversations occur when both parties aware of how to listen well. Listening well means staying focused. In order to do that, you can follow the below ways.
- Minimize environmental distractions
- Reduce internal distractions
- Keeping attention
- Asking related questions
- Interrupt with kindness
#1. Minimize environmental distractions
Environmental distractions are one of the main obstacles that prevent you from staying focused. Environmental and physical barriers that prevent staying focused include sensory factors like sights, smell, sound, temperature, physical comfort, and so on. As well as it includes physiological factors like discomfort, illness, fatigue, stress, and so on.
In order to stay focus when you are talking, make sure to reduce these distractions.
These are the factors that affect the senses and being obstacles to staying focus.
If you can see there are things around you that can be distracting, it will be the main reason not to stay focused.
Most probably, a noisy room provides much distraction. So, to staying focus, it is better to avoid noisy sounds.
Unexpectedly, the smell in the nose can distract us. Because the human nose is a very sensitive organ and its smells can be very evocative.
Have you ever thought temperature will affect your attention? Of course, temperature matters. In fact, it is difficult to stay focused if it is too hot, too cold, or too humid.
If you are not physically comfortable, it may be a reason to distract you to stay in focus when talking.
When you are participating in a conversation, though you are uncomfortable in any way it will harm your attention. So, in order to stay focused, it is better to maintain your comfort.
Illness is so related to distraction. It can directly affect the mind and the ability to focus.
If you are stressed, it is the main distraction for your ability to focus. In a conclusion, you should be treated for your stress before your conversation or putting off the discussion until a place and time can be found.
So, these are the environmental distractions that can affect your ability to focus. In order to stay focused when someone is talking, it is better to consider all the above facts and reduce them as much as possible.
#2. Reduce internal Distractions
Internal distractions often refer to psychological and emotional noise. Before you enter the conversation, it is better to reduce your internal distractions. If you have a very important email, phone call, or task that behaves annoyingly, it is better to take care of them before you enter a conversation.
For instance, if you need to ask a person to meet a little later, it is better to let him know first or tune it into another person. Or not, it will float in your mind distractingly like a little voice in your head.
Moreover, if you are able to schedule your day to take care of the more difficult tasks earlier in the day, then you will be able to stay focus on the one-on-one meetings that you have with people later in the day.
#3. Shift your Attention
Do you know, most of our brain resource spends on visual processing. It means if you are looking at someone’s face and expression, your mind is busy judging the other person’s facial expressions to find out the hidden agenda behind their speech. If you try to stop that, luckily you can be an active listener with full attention.
Further, the issue comes with not looking in the eye, not keeping eye contact. In fact, to help yourself to be interested in the other’s speech, try to smile with them and give them a 70:30 ratio of eye contact. It means, 70% mainly look in their eyes or their general person in a non-sexual manner, and the rest 30% at your surroundings. When your conversation comes with a group, try to have a ratio of 50:50. It means, tries to share your attention equally among all members.
Shift your full attention to the conversation and it will help to stay focused when someone is talking.
#4. Asking related questions
In fact, asking questions will encourage deeper understanding and it will help to maintain focus when someone is talking. And also it is a form of confirmation that you heard the correct thing.
Sometimes, what someone says does not match the way they think about it. If you are not sure you understand what they are saying, wait until they have finished thinking and confirm what you have removed from what they said. If you are in a condition of not asking questions from them about the conversation, just ask questions from yourself. And if there is a doubt ask from them.
#5. Interrupt with kindness
Interrupting with the person who conducted the conversation, is a way of realizing that you were staying focused while the conversation was going on. But remember, do it kindly.
For instance, if someone is droning on and on and on, there is no need to wait in that conversation. Instead of wasting the time on both, you can jump from the conversation, by grabbing something that they have said. As mentioned earlier, that is a way of showing you have heard their conversation.
And, finally, it is OKAY to disagree with your partner, if you are not agreeing with them. You are just trying to be a good listener and staying focused while they are talking and not to agree with all they are talking about.
The fact is, everyone is hoping the understanding and a true connection comes through listening well to others and staying focused while the conversation is going on. So, let’s make an intentional effort to stay focused and be engaged with each person we encounter.