The first step in receiving another’s message is your presence, both mentally andin your actions.Presence influences as well as words. Intense relaxed attention focused on anotherliterally pulls them to a higher level of participation. Practice clearing yourmind to:- Develop a single-minded awareness of what is actually occurring around you andwithin you.- Attune yourself to your customers’ subtle communications and emotions.Two Aspects of Presence1. Physical PresenceUsing your body to demonstrate intense, relaxed focus.2. Mental PresenceGetting yourself fully present and focused on what others are saying.Attending BehaviorsNo doubt you will find these skills valuable in your many face-to-faceinteractions.- Squaring: Sit or stand with your shoulders squared to the customer or speaker.If someone is saying something important, we face them squarely. If you “turnaway” from someone who is speaking, they feel less heard.- Eye Contact: Hold steady, consistent eye contact with the speaker. Focus on oneeye to give more intense eye contact.- Leaning: Lean in toward the speaker about 10 degrees to project the intensity ofyour interest.- Facial Gestures: Send the speaker visual cues that you are tracking with them.Head nods, smiles, a furrowed brow, raised eyebrows, dropping your jaw are signsthat you are listening and understanding.- Vocal Inflection: Give vocal cues as well as visual cues. This is especiallyimportant on the phone. “Hmm”, “yes”, “ahhh”, “right”, “I see”, “gotcha”, “um hmm”are vocalizations or expressions that let a speaker know you are listening.Mental PresenceTo be mentally present requires more than just silence when another speaks. Youmust clear your mind of extraneous “chatter” and focus intensely on what thespeaker is saying.Monitor the Meandering MindWhen your mind wanders, and you cannot accurately paraphrase, don’t go into selfcriticism. Instead, increase your awareness by identifying where your mindwandered.If you weren’t listening, see if you can remember what you were thinking about.