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Attention and Time


Explanations > Perception > Attention > Attention and Time

Description | Example | Discussion | So what?



Before you ask for attention, consider the other person and ask these questions:

  • Are they tired or busy?
  • Are they ready to give you their time now?
  • Is there another time when they might be more ready?
  • What part of the day are they more alert? Are they morning or afternoon people?

In other words, think about the best time to approach them, when they would be most likely to give you quality time rather than a 'quick couple of minutes' in which they may actually be thinking more about other matters.

As appropriate, it may be better to first book an appointment with them. Ensure you get enough of their time to cover the issues you want to discuss with them. If they are unwilling, be assertive about the time you need.

Do be sensitive to the time pressures that people are placed under. If they are very busy, then seeking a longer period is less likely to be acceptable for them. It may be better, for example to reduce the points you want to discuss so the most important issues get the time they really need.


A sales person calling a customer asks when they will have a couple of hours available for a demonstration of the latest product line.

A child wants the attention of their mother. Noticing that the parent is busy cooking, they put off asking for attention until after dinner.


When we want the attention of somebody else, in our focus on our own needs we easily forget that other people may be busy and not ready at this time to give us attention. We also may forget that simply asking for some time later rather than demanding it now can be a very effective way of getting the attention you really need.

When people are protective of their time, then other methods may need to be used to get their attention. When they are resisting giving you time, you may need to negotiate a compromise that gives you enough time but also fits into their constraints. As with any negotiation, you can be imaginative in what benefits you can offer them that will persuade them to spend more time with you.

So what?

Be practical and creative in finding the time from the other person's schedule that they will more willingly give to you. You can even help them complete tasks they are doing so they will have more time for you (and feel obliged to do so).

See also




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