A few years ago, I walked into a mega-bookstore when they were still flourishing. I approached the information desk and started to ask about a particular book. The clerk did not gaze up.
I said, “I have a question about a particular book.” He still didn’t look up – his eyes engaged with the monitor. I finally said, “I will wait.” The clerk responded, “Go ahead, I’m listening.” I finally said, “You’re listening, but you’re not engaging me, I am eye-contact guy.”
When did common courtesy become less common?
Fast forward to today. I know two people, let’s call them A and B. Whenever I talk to A, she turns her chair around and focuses on my question or comment. No matter what she is working on, she is in the moment for me. B, on the other hand, never turns her chair around. She continues to type and look into the monitor or leaf through paperwork.
This isn’t a single observation of A and B, but one gleaned over time.
They are both equally nice people. It may be that B isn’t able to disengage from her work as easily. But the result is that I will always go to A first for a question or a conversation. I will recommend A higher than B to people. And I have learned a great lesson from A, how to turn my chair around and engage.
It takes only a second to engage, but the effects last for much longer.