Are YOU In Attendance or Just Your Body Double?

5 years ago

When you attend an event, whether it's a conference or dinner with a friend, do you actually show up fully? Or does your body attend without the rest of you (your presence and attention)? Maybe it's just me, but I see more and more empty vessels out there ...

Now this may start off like a bit of a rant, but stick with me...

Today I attended a pretty riveting seminar. The audience paid good money to see this expert. They came to learn from one of the best of the best. The energy in the room was of people who wanted to be there. Yet, I could still see a smattering of attendees that were only halfway in attendance, busy typing away and checking emails, phone messages, and the like during a good portion of the event.

My question to these people is: Why do you bother attending at all?

Here's what I can understand:

  • Tweeting/Facebooking at a conference (to a limited degree, unless you're the assigned live-blogger).
  • Typing away on your phone, iPad, or laptop as a means of taking some notes (highlights, not dictation of every word).
  • Having your phone available (on SILENT people!) for a bona fide emergency. (99.999% of things that happen in our lives are not a real emergency. Unless someone is bleeding, not breathing, or in an accident, it's not an emergency.)

What confounds me is why someone would invest their time, energy, and money, and then not be present. For instance today I witnessed people:

  • Checking their email every two minutes.
  • Leaving the room multiple times to take calls.
  • Preoccupied with talking to the person next to them.

Credit Image: Ed Yourdon via Flickr

If you're not going to BE where you are, then you're essentially nowhere! You can't be anywhere other than right where you are. Remember the maxim: wherever you go, there you are. So choose to be here now. If you don't want to go somewhere, say no, don't attend, take a raincheck, etc. Unless you're stuck in a mandatory meeting at your day job that is a total waste of time, you've got a choice. (If you are stuck in a waste of time meeting, by all means... distract yourself any way you can.)

When you're multitasking, your attention is like the equivalent of being stoned. Multitasking (and all that email checking) is making you stupid. So give yourself more credit than that. Remember the time you are wasting (or simply not present) is a part of your precious life that you're not getting back.

So here are my suggestions for getting the biggest ROI of your time, attention, and energy.

1) Do only one thing at a time. Engage in the lost art of focus.

2) Shut off all the distractions.

3) Adopt a beginner's mind and truly be present, listen, and learn. You'll be amazed what you notice and receive.

Everything else can wait. Really, it can.

So next time you attend a seminar, have a conversation with someone else, or partake in an activity with a loved one, show up. Don't just send a body double.

Paula Gregorowicz plucks women off the hamster wheel of overwhelm, struggle, and self-doubt and guides them to a purposeful path of building authentic and successful businesses.
Download the Free Report: Your Own Uniqueness: The Path to Purpose, Prosperity, and Playfulness at


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