The power of really paying attention.

I’ll be the first one to admit that I have always done my best to pay full attention to whatever or whomever is in front of me. Although in reality, there have clearly been times when I wasn’t able to be fully as engaged as I could or should have been. What did I miss when I wasn’t or couldn’t pay full attention? Your guess is as good as mine, but I guarantee I missed out on some important information along the way.

Is it my fault that I wasn’t or couldn’t pay full attention during critical times when I should have been? Yes, and no. Yes, because I’ll take full ownership for not doing so, but at the same time, I’m human, clearly far from perfect, and admittedly have challenges with doing so. However, I have addressed this personally, so now I feel like I have a much higher capacity to pay attention at a very different level than in the past.

Being able to pay attention at a different level has been eye opening for me. Sort of like when I got eyeglasses and no longer had to struggle to see clearly. It was a liberating feeling, and one that I wish I had been able to experience a long time ago, but I’m not someone to expend energy dwelling on something I can’t change. I learned that not dwelling on things that were out of my control was a fantastic strategy to help me to focus, and pay attention.

There are clearly different levels of paying attention, and instances when it is more critical to do so. When I think back to the times when it was critical for me to pay attention, I know that there were situations that may have had different results had my attention ability been laser focused. Obviously, there isn’t anything I can do to course correct on those experiences. Or is there?

One of the things I have come to appreciate is being able to reflect back on conversations or experiences that are indelibly etched in my mind. Conversations that had I been more present and able to focus on what was being conveyed, how I could have responded verbally or acted differently. The good news is that reflecting back on these scenarios has been both cathartic, and useful in terms of allowing me to apply my past learnings to future instances requiring my full attention.

In fact, I recently was able to benefit from now being able to be fully present, and offer someone my full attention when it was critically needed. I suspect and deep down know that had I not been able to be fully paying attention, that the outcome of the conversation would have been entirely different. Not in a positive way. However, having worked on being aware that I needed to seek support for my lack of ability to fully pay attention paid off enormously for the recipient of my full attention. I didn’t learn the outcome of that conversation for a few months after it occurred, but the results of the conversation, and me being fully present and paying attention made a tremendous difference in another person’s life. So much so, that they are now able to take from their experience and pass it along as a gift to others, and which they have already done.

Consider a time when you wish that you had been paying closer attention to what someone was telling you. Had you been paying full attention, would you have said different things, or perhaps acted differently during the conversation, or perhaps afterwards? If your response to these questions was either yes, or maybe, below are some suggestions to help you in the near future to become a better listener.

  • Slow down your thoughts while you are listening to the person or people in front of you.
  • Stop trying to anticipate what they will be saying, and focus on what they are saying before you respond.
  • I always attempt to think at the beginning of a conversation, what I want the “end game” or results of the conversation to be. I don’t state this out loud, and I may change my “end game” mid conversation.
  • Remain as open-minded as you can while you are listening to the person. Being judgmental in your commentary, or body language isn’t going to be helpful, and be aware during the conversation if you are heading into this territory. No one benefits from judgmental commentary.
  • Consider asking open-ended questions that will allow the person you are listening to have an opportunity to fully explore and cover the topic they are discussing with you.
  • If you notice that someone seems to be struggling emotionally, ask them if they would like to talk to you. Either now, or at a point in time they would be more comfortable doing so. Sometimes just offering to listen to another person can be helpful, but actually doing so will be the ultimate gift.
  • Keep your commentary to a minimum, and apply the 80/20 rule. Let the person who needs to be listened to do 80% of the talking.

When we work on and put effort into becoming better at listening and paying attention, we gain a skill that will support us well from a mental health perspective, but also from a leadership perspective. Having the skills and motivation to listen well to another person is a gift that may not be appreciated right away, or reciprocated, but it is always the right thing to do in support of another individual. Who can you pay attention and listen to today?

TAGS: #Leadership #Communication #Motivation #Teams #Business #Personaldevelopment #Mentalhealth #Makingadifference #Listening #Thepoweroflistenting #Payingattention #Thebenefitsofpayingattention #Focus #Havingfocus

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How are your people management skills?

Thinking back to the first time I was responsible for managing someone, I remember feeling a tremendous sense of being the best boss possible boss I could be. This of course was despite my limited experience in this area. However, when I factored in thinking about the myriad of opportunities to practice managing someone, while being the boss, it became less of an intimidating situation. Perhaps for both of us.

Fast forward in time close to thirty years since having first managed the person I was referring to. The fact I recently heard from this person after three decades was an incredible moment, and not one I expected to occur. What was even more surprising was the fact this person sent me a thank you note for being their boss! It goes to show you there is no time limit on thanking someone, and this is a topic I have previously written about.

In the note from the person I first managed, they shared with me that I was a highly supportive and nurturing boss, and that they were surprised I took a chance on hiring them. They also commented on how hiring them changed their life, and influenced the career direction they ended up pursuing. I never knew any of these facts until recently. My point is that even when I was a freshly minted boss, it was possible to have a positive impact on managing someone and their career.

Until I received the email via a LinkedIn message from this person, I had not considered how early in my career my people management skills would continue to be an asset to both me, and the people I have had the responsibility and honor of managing. Being completely honest, there were times when I recall managing this person that I was unsure of whether I was able to properly guide them. However, each time I felt that way, I had a conversation with myself to remind me that managing someone is actually a two-way process. This made me feel much better when I acknowledged that I was only half of the equation and the outcome results.

When I stopped to consider where I sourced my own people management skills from, I would have to say some of them were modeled by my parents. For the first five to six years of my career, I also learned through observing my bosses how to manage others. Of course, some of my bosses were far better at people management skills than others. Understanding both optimal and sub optimal ways of applying or learning these skills will serve you equally well.

Below are some of my acquired and own methods for how to improve your people management skills.

  • This can apply to both work and life situations, and is a foundational piece of advice to launch from. I know you have heard this before, but it’s not always practiced as well as it should be. Without exception, always treat the person you are managing the way you would want to be treated.
  • People are constantly surprising us with what they do and say. Sometimes this is a positive experience, but if it’s not, consider asking the person “Why did they do or say what they did?” When you ask someone to provide insight to better understand their behavior, it generally offers a teachable moment for you to help them see how they could have handled the situation differently.
  • How often do you praise someone? Often times managers neglect considering how a simple thank you, or positive acknowledgment of a small accomplishment can make someone’s day.
  • Have you considered what adjectives people would use to describe your human engagement skills? Sometimes our perceptions are quite different than the reality of how we are appearing to interact with others. Chances are if this is the case, you may not be aware that this is an area for course correction. If this is a problem area for you, it could also be why you have not, or might not advance into upper management roles.
  • Consider what you have done either in the past, or recently to improve your people management skills. Have you proactively worked on being self-aware of the importance of doing this?
  • Think about people who you would classify as having naturally gifted abilities in managing other people well. Is it possible for you to be mentored by them? Remember the importance of having a mentor, and this applies to all stages of your career. 
  • There are tremendous benefits granted to those who master being highly skilled people managers. They are often fast tracked in their careers, are more satisfied professionally with their roles, have a larger professional network to tap into when they need to do so, and are considered for roles over other people who might be more qualified technically, but are lacking in their human management skills.

This is a rich and ever evolving topic. It is also a subject that you will always benefit from any investment you make in yourself to improve how you interact with others, either personally or professionally.

Tags: #Success #Mentorship #PeopleManagementSkills #Business #Howtodevelopyourpeoplemanagementskills #Business #Sales #Management #Leadership #HumanResources #HumanCapital #Tipsonhowtoimprovepeoplemanagementskills #Strategy

Are you a people judger?

Let’s go to your “wayback machine” and place yourself in kindergarten. This was a time in your life when you were less encumbered from making judgements about others, and were more accepting of the people you interacted with. How refreshing, especially if you consider the positive side and potential of everyone you interact with being your friend.

If you think about when you began to become discerning about who you were interacting with, and why, there are likely a few key interactions in your life which shaped your decisions. Unfortunately, some of them negatively influenced your ability to have an open mind. This is especially apparent when it comes to being aware and open to seeing the benefit of interacting with everyone on a neutral basis.

Right, wrong or indifferent, we are all judged on a regular basis by others, and by our own accounts on a daily basis. How we handle these judgements, and whether we let them impact us or others around us, is what separates us from having better and more fulfilling life experiences. Why? Because when we are always judging other people, we typically are not taking in all of the information to fairly do so. More importantly, no one is entitled to be judging others, but people do this all the time.

When people are judging other people, they are in essence defining the social barriers or opportunities that will be available to them. The more people judge others, and in a negative capacity, the fewer chances they will have to positively benefit from the extraordinary talents, insights and experiences from that person.

Not being judgmental requires us to be many things. One of them is open-minded. It’s easy to say you are an open-minded individual, but in reality, it is much harder to be one. In fact, for starters, if you don’t like to ask others questions, and truly listen to what they have to say, chances are you are not an open-minded person. Why? Because with limited information about someone, it is far easier to be judgmental about them.

Consider one of your recent encounters with someone you randomly met. Perhaps you were introduced to another person in a neutral setting. In this situation, neither of you knew much about the other person. This is a great time to test your ability to be open-minded, and to see what level of judgement you are casting on the new person. Or, to be able to gauge what your level of neutrality you are offering towards the person you are meeting.

In work environments, chances are you will be slightly less judgmental of people. This is due to the fact they have been vetted in some way to be associated with your company. However, when you meet them, you will likely put them through your own method of judging them, with the intent of quickly determining your future interaction levels with them. Even if you are going to be colleagues and will be required to work closely together, your initial judgement of someone will impact how well you will work together.

What if this initial meeting of a new colleague played out differently? What if you were open-minded to learning more about them, and took the time to understand who they are, what talents they have, and how to best interact with them? Would this set both of you up to have a far better working experience? Of course, it would. However, most people don’t set themselves up to initially experience this type of interaction success. Why? Because they are accustomed to being marginally judgmental based on years of being unaware of their actions.

If you are with me on supporting the philosophy that being open-minded, or at least striving to become more so, is something you want to be, below are some questions and factors to consider. They are intended to help you to learn and perhaps achieve becoming less or non-judgmental at some point.

  • Have you ever discussed how you became closed minded when it comes to interacting with new or current people you have in your life?
  • What are the factors causing you to be judgmental?
  • How aware are you on a scale of 1-5 (5 being the highest) of being judgmental?
  • Has being judgmental actually benefitted you professionally?
  • Think of a time when being judgmental backfired?
  • Are you willing to consider being less judgmental?
  • When you are judging others, are you doing so out of insecurity?
  • Think about a time you were open-minded and the results of the interaction?
  • If there was a way to become less or completely non-judgmental, would you want to be this way?
  • Think of someone you admire. Is one of their qualities being non-judgmental?
  • Do you think you have the capacity to be non-judgmental?

When you are able to interact with people in a non-judgmental way, consider yourself as being fortunate. Ultimately this is something as humans we owe to both ourselves and to others to strive to achieve being more accepting of other people. We may not achieve this, or all have this as a goal. However, I firmly believe our world would certainly be a much better place to live in, if we were even slightly all more open-minded towards others.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CEO of Market Me Too.  She is a Gallup Certified Strengths Finder Coachauthor of Wisdom Whisperer  and Evolve! With the Wisdom Whisperer (published in December 2019)and is a well-respected motivational and social influencer with a global following from her numerous speaking, print, radio and television media appearances. She also is the creator and Host of a TV Show and Podcast called Murf & E Unfiltered – Zero BS Biz Talk.

Essentially every team is dysfunctional in some way. Our expertise is in uniting, motivating and bridging dysfunctional teams (sports & business), and turning them into epic ones.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Our coaching produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results personally and professionally. Need proof? Just talk to our clients, or read through our testimonials.

If you want better and different results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at or (339) 987-0195.

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Connected socially, but not really

My father is the perfect example of someone who has enormously benefitted from mobile and social media connections. He was not someone you would classify as an early adopter of technology, but when he was reluctantly coaxed into purchasing his first mobile phone, it was a life changing experience for him.

Having three children and seven grandchildren, with his mobile phone, my father now had a new way to communicate with people that was far different from the standard way of speaking with people on the phone as he had done so for years. He still enjoys speaking on the phone, but his mobile phone has opened up a whole new way for him to communicate.

Texting appears to be his newest favorite form of communicating, and based on the number of emoji’s he has, I personally think he must send emoji ideas to designers, or has them created for him. He also loves sending all of us unique photos which tie into our interests and hobbies, and I am also amazed at how he does this so well.

Although mobile communications and social media are powerful connecting methods, they are also only one to two-dimensional in terms of being able to connect people. Connecting with people face to face is still the most powerful way of communicating with others. However, given the choice, it seems that more people will opt to engage with people via social media versus seeing them in person. Obviously, there are some people who we cannot easily see in person due to distance or other extenuating circumstances, and this is an upside to social media interactions.

Since engaging with social media has a relatively low barrier for easily being able to interact with people, I have seen that more people will defer to this type of engagement rather than making the effort to see people in person. What they may not realize, is that the social media interactions they have do not have the same level of genuineness and impact level that in person interactions have. In person interactions take planning and time, and given the fact people are so busy, they will generally defer to interacting via social media versus in person connections.

Fewer in person interactions and increased social media interactions are what in my opinion have contributed to people being less apt to have strong face to face conversations, as well as making them feel less connected to others. There is a serious disconnect that occurs when we exclusively communicate via social media, or have this method of interacting with others at such a high percentage rate which causes an imbalance for us socially.

Humans have a strong need and desire to socially engage with others, and our social media interactions cannot be a complete substitution for this. However, when you are out in public, look around and just about half or more of the people you see will be heads down, with their phone commanding their full attention. I have often wondered if due to this phenomenon and new reality, if it has contributed to our levels of anxiety and depression. This could also be despite the fact people think they are fully socially engaging with others, but in reality, they really are not.

In person communications takes both patience and practice, and engaging in social media does not necessarily contribute to helping to enhance these skills. So, if you feel as if your anxiety levels are on the increase, consider utilizing your social media communications to set-up face to face interactions with people. Doing this will make you feel much more connected, and will help to develop your actual and real relationship with the people you are engaging with either personally or professionally.

Start queuing up your in-person meetings with your on-line people right now. Once you do this, you will then start enjoying the benefits of truly leveraging the full power of your on-line world of connections, especially when you have them cross over into your real world. What are you waiting for? I’ll be waiting to hear from you.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Performance Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. She is also the author of a newly published business book called Wisdom Whisperer which is available via Amazon.

Market Me Too also works with individuals from students to C-level executives. The individuals, business and sports teams we work with are coached on how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis, which produces repeatable, measurable and amazing results.

If you want better results, let’s talk. We know how to help you get them. Contact Kathleen at or (339) 987-0195.


(5) Tips – Improve How to Get Along with Others

Like most folks, you probably did not realize just how important that first year of school was and why would you, as you were a five-year-old with limited life skills. But, as Robert Fulghum, author of ‘All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten’ proclaims, we really were all taught some critical life skills – like how to get along.

Sometimes I wonder if some people skipped Kindergarten, or were napping through the ‘how to get along with others’ lessons, or were too distracted with anything else going on at that time. If you did not pick up on the fundamental getting-along-with-others skills you missed, let’s review a few examples of how you can teach yourself, and learn the lessons that passed you by in Kindergarten.

Have you ever stopped to consider how you actually meet people?  How you have maintained the friendships and relationships you have made? Chances are, you learned these skills a long time ago from both your parents and primary school teachers, yet you were blissfully unaware of the fact you were developing these abilities.

There are fundamental elements associated with how to get along well with others, but sometimes people either forget them, or, perhaps they did not learn them well. If you have ever wondered why some people seem to be gifted with being able to get along with others, I will let you in on a little secret. It is really not that hard to do, but you will have to make a genuine effort.

Most humans have a pretty well-developed fraud meter, and can easily tell when someone is not being sincere. We have all encountered people like this. It is uncomfortable to be around them, but I also feel sad for these phony baloneys. Why? Because they are unaware of how they are perceived, and likely wonder why they do not have many genuine friends.

Have you heard of the expression “Play nice in the sandbox?”  This is one of the fundamental elements associated with getting along with others, and consists of being polite and respectful of others. Savvy senior executives know that if they don’t follow the simple lessons they learned in Kindergarten, they risk getting thrown out of the sandbox.

People who have not been taught manners and the reasons they should be respectful to others, run the risk of doing something wrong in their quest to get along. So, if you happen to be one of these people, or know someone who seemed to miss the fundamental building blocks to learn how to get along with others, here are a few tips to get you started, or back on track.

  • When you meet someone, ask how they are doing, and really pay attention to how they answer. Most people will be polite and give you a brief response, but this will give you the leverage to advance the conversation.


  • Given the chance, and if time permits, ask the person, where they grew up, and what led them to where they are today, either professionally or personally. People love to talk about themselves, so leverage this opportunity. I am always amazed by the fact that once I get someone talking, they may not realize they have not asked me any questions. This is OK, but it also points out they have not fully developed their ‘getting along’ skills.


  • Ask the person you are interacting with if you can help them in some way, especially if you are their colleague. They may not take you up on your offer, but if you start asking with what they are challenged right now, you can seize on the opportunity to tell them how you may be able to help. When you assist someone professionally, even if it is something as simple as making an introduction, they are more appreciative of this than you might imagine. Why? Because this is an example of being genuine, and you come across as being sincere.


  • Do something nice for the person you have met, or the people you work with or are getting to know. It does not have to mean you go out and buy them something extravagant. It could be that you share an article or YouTube video with them related to the work you are doing. Don’t just do this once, send them a couple of them over the course of a few weeks. Just don’t overdo and be thought a stalker! There are plenty of other examples of what else you can do which are nice gestures. The point is to be creative and do something for others that demonstrates how you are a genuinely nice person. This makes you more approachable and likeable.


  • Consider meeting people an opportunity to see the ‘diamond’ beneath the surface. Don’t get caught up thinking you need to be best friends with everyone. You do not, but at the same time, look at every encounter a chance to uncover another layer of your co-worker’s personality. You will find that most people with whom you work are incredibly interesting, gifted in their own way, and have a great deal to offer.

The bottom line is that you simply need to invest time in learning how to get along with others. Doing this is one of the most important skills to have in order to increase your future career options, and have access to an incredible network of fascinating people, some of whom you will cherish having in your life.

Kathleen E. R. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth and revenue numbers, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. We also work with individuals from students to executives and business and sports teams to coach them to learn how to leverage and apply their peak performance talents on a daily basis. Contact Kathleen at

Announcement: My first business book called Wisdom Whisperer, is now available via Amazon. Pick one up, or get one for your friend or colleague. I’ve been told this is a great gift for upcoming college graduates, but it is also highly suitable for people in all stages of their life and careers, as the book format is like a buffet, and you can choose to read or not read the topics which suit you best.