Don't Follow The Script

There are few things more annoying than being subjected to The Script. You know, the wait staff that can't be stopped from reciting all the specials, even though you aren't interested. The NYTimes customer care person who asks a litany of a dozen check list questions when all I really want is my paper - not to update their database for the third time this month at 6:30am, or the boss who gives a pro forma response but who hasn't really understood the question.

We all do it - especially in situations that are uncomfortable or when we are in a hurry, 

How much better to focus on being present to the situation at hand. To be present with the customer on the phone or the colleague in front of you.

This time of year, when we are scurrying to complete 2015, plan 2016 and deal with extra holiday duties,  try these tips:

Take a breath, maybe two. This is the quickest and simplest way to regain presence. As a friend says, just be where your feet are! Right where you are, not somewhere else in your head.

Create time in your schedule for the unplanned, unknown event. No doubt you will find something urgent to fill it with if all else goes according to plan.

Ask a question. You'll get more information, plus a moment to think and ground yourself before you respond.

Acknowledge the situation - hurried, uncomfortable, stressful. "Sorry, I'm in a hurry and didn't pay attention. Let's try again ..." That will help both you and the other person level set the conversation.

Karen Walker