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Holding Attention

by Randall Craig on May 6, 2008

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Management

Tagged as: , ,

Have you ever had the feeling that the person you are speaking to really wasn’t paying attention to your conversation? Maybe they are pre-occupied with a personal matter? Or they might not care about your message (or about you)? Or perhaps they are focused on an impending deadline? Whatever the reason, from your perspective it is rude and disrespectful. You worry that their lack of attention will cost you the sale, cost you the job, or prevent you from achieving your meeting objectives.

To improve your odds, there are some simple things that you can do:

1) Expectations set: make sure that they know why the meeting is taking place – and why it is in their interest to meet with you.

2) Walk in their shoes: what would a successful meeting look like – from their perspective? Spend the meeting delivering on this.

3) Do your research: prove that you know the basics, and more.

4) Don’t overstay your welcome: there is nothing more annoying than someone who is a time waster. Keep to the schedule, and when the meeting is done – even if it is early – leave.

5) Ask questions: It is easier to keep someone engaged if they are actually part of the conversation. A one-way broadcast is the fastest way to disengagement.

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Randall Craig

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Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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