A Tool for Being Present

Jeff Kidman
Contributing Writer

Legacy Discovery Shaman Jeff Kidman brings to you exercises you can undertake anywhere, at a time that works for you. For the man on a men’s team, in a men’s group or out there on his own. The intention of these exercises is to bring you into greater connection to something bigger, so that you can broaden your context, reach your highest potential and ultimately be more successful in the endeavors that matter to you and those you influence.

Part 3 – A Tool For Being Present to Others

I have written about becoming present to ourselves. Today I am thinking about getting present to others. How do we make that connection? What are the steps?

Some of you may be familiar with ‘active listening’ or other similar practices. What we are most used to socially is something like the interaction of asking how you are and we reflexively say “fine.” I am asking that we notice the reflex and consider that actually taking a moment to answer truthfully and thoughtfully is a first step to connecting. So here are a few simple steps to connecting with others.

  1. Make eye contact. It’s an acknowledgment of your presence.
  2. Actively notice the other persons body language. Are they sitting comfortably and matching your eye contact? Do they appear nervous? Do they appear happy and relaxed?
  3. Allow your own body language to reflect how you are feeling. Allow your face to show it, and maybe your stance as well.
  4. Repeat back important phrases to the person. Such as “I hear you saying…” or “It seems like you are feeling…”
  5. Notice if you have already thought of your next thing to say instead of paying attention to what the other person is saying. Switch back to listening.
  6. Ask questions about what the person is saying.
  7. Reflect back to them something from your own experience that is similar.

Sometimes any one of these practices can create some deeper connection. Sometimes they will make you or the other person uncomfortable, or they may disagree with your reflection of their statements. You may find yourself talking about what you want rather than what they have been saying. It’s OK. My own reflex is to show the world an unflappable facade, it’s harder to connect when you don’t want to show yourself. It’s unusual to make a deeper connection.

Give it a try.

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