On Saturday my dear cat, Blackie passed away. We had him for 11 years and he was the perfect cat. I received some comfort from friends who called and sent emails.
One person called and offered to leave her cell phone on while she was away. I called and called but the phone would not accept a voicemail. When she returned on Sunday, she discovered that the phone wasn't charged. She apologized and said she called to check in to see how I was doing. Obviously, her intention was positive. While she was talking I heard loud banging that was hurting my ear. I asked if she was doing the dishes. She said she was emptying grocery bags and putting the items on the table.
When I complained about the noise she said, "You'll get over it."
I certainly did-I ended the call.
Obviously she wasn't ready to talk. She wasn't present. While her intention was to call to see how I was doing (caring) the result was that I felt disrespected and not important.
I felt that I was an obligation and something to check off her "to do" list.
The real message in a communication is NOT your intent. The true message is the result.
How often do presenters memorize a page of words and spew them at us like spitballs hoping that they hit our minds? To be an effective communicator, we must be present. If we're thinking of our next line, we're not present with the audience.
If we're dropping a string of "ums" and "ahs" we're not present. To be truly present is to be with the person. To be present means to connect by really looking at people.
To be present is to share and hold the silence with them.
Your audience may be one or one thousand. It doesn't matter. The present we give our audience is our presence.