The Greatest Gift of All

shutterstock_95748694 In our increasingly hectic, information overloaded world, time is a precious commodity. With so many options, responsibilities and ever-growing to-do lists, we can’t help but morph into slightly schizophrenic multi-taskers. It seems an almost impossible feat to step away from the daily onslaught, but the greatest gift we can give to others is our undivided and focused attention.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the woman you met at a recent event who kept looking over your shoulder to see who else was there while you were talking about your recent travels. Or the client who kept taking phone calls during your monthly meeting and the friend who can’t put her Blackberry down during your lunch together.

Constant chatter from electronic devices not only interferes with your ability to focus, but also your ability to connect to the other person in a deep and meaningful way. I don’t know about you, but I’m often shocked at the rudeness and disrespect I see on a regular basis – while shopping, on the road, at events and even between friends and family. The people in your life really do deserve better.

Set boundaries for yourself so that when you are working, you are focused on your work and nothing else. And when you are with someone that you care about, you are really with them – physically and mentally.

Here are five things you can do right now to be fully present:

1. Maintain “soft” eye contact – Focus on the person you’re speaking with and imagine that they are the only person in the room. Maintain eye contact without staring them down, and don’t let your eyes meander over their shoulder. Be interested.
2. Really listen – It’s important to allow the other person plenty of space and time to talk. Occasionally acknowledge them by mirroring back something they’ve said. For example, “So what you are telling me is…”
3. Step away from the Blackberry – Better yet, turn it off. ‘Nuff said.
4. Breathe – Don’t hold your breath, just waiting for your turn to speak. Inhale, exhale, relax.
5. Practice the Golden Rule – Treat others exactly how you would like to be treated. When you treat others with courtesy, respect, enthusiasm and kindess, you’ll find much more of it in your own relationships.

So what I propose this holiday season is a fairly frugal and simple task – the best present is to be present. Give the ones you love the greatest gift of all, something that will make them feel valued and important – your attention.

©Liz Dennery Sanders 2009

Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners build powerful personal brands with style, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries. You can reach her directly at or

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