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  • Writer's pictureStu

Check it out!… an opportunity just walked through the middle of your conversation.

Updated: Aug 21, 2023

But, you missed it.

Your preoccupation poisoned your perception. Psychologists call this inattentional blindness. It’s when we become so preoccupied with one thing that we become blind to the obvious thing.

The consequences can be severe. If we miss what is going on in the room we set ourselves up for missed opportunities, unnecessary conflict and costly rework. And it’s so easy to be preoccupied. All it takes is a bit of pressure, something we’re interested in or a result we “need” to achieve. Before we know it we’ve narrowed our vision with blinkers of our own making.

If we want to influence effectively, we need to see clearly.

To fight preoccupation consider introducing a moment in your preparation where you mentally detach or step back from your situation. This is about deliberately getting some distance to expand your perspective. As William Ury advises, we should “go to the balcony”.

The good news is that in less than a minute you can often break free from the frame of mind that would lead to tunnel vision in the meeting.

The bottom line: step back to see more.


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