Too often these days we end up talking past each other.

When the other person is talking to often we are thinking about what we want to say next or what we missed saying the last time we had our opportunity to talk.

That is a classic case of talking past each other.

What can we do about it?

It’s simple. Be present.

It’s as simple as focusing on the conversation and being present in the moment.

Is it hard to do?

Absolutely. It can be very hard to do and even harder execute.

So, what can you do about it?

Again, it is simple.

  • Take a moment
  • Take a breath
  • Take a beat

And focus on where you are right now.

  • Focus on what you want to accomplish right now
  • Focus on what you want out of the conversation
  • Focus on what you think they want out of the conversation

Then make it happen.

How do you know what the other person wants out of the conversation?

That’s easy. Ask them!

Pro tip: Never go to a meeting that doesn’t have an agenda.

Before you meet with someone set the ground rules of what you want to accomplish and what you expect to happen.

This doesn’t always work. Because sometimes you’re in the office, on elevator, at a tradeshow, or just out in the wild. And you don’t always have that moment to set context.

But, when you get that impromptu request you can take a moment to ask what the other party wants out of the conversation. Set SMART Goals

Take a moment and ask.

Pro Tip: Learn to say NO like a pro – Read How You Can Say ‘No’ Like a Pro

When you have the time… take the time and:

  • Set the tone
  • Set the pace
  • Set the agenda

The ends will justify the means.

Take the time to prepare. Take the time to really listen. And, most important of all, take the time to be present.

When you can master this one skill you will stand out in your career. You will be known for hosting effective meetings and having meaningful conversations.