The Power of Attention

Jeff Klein The Power of Attention

Summary: Real attention leads to connection and the converse is true.

This is a summary of a Youtube video by Jeff who died fairly shortly after recording this TED talk. I guess this simply sums up the NLP notion of Rapport and the greatest gift that you can bestow on others is to pay complete attention to them. And indeed to any task you are attending to right now. This does not happen very often in life and relationships. See my other post about how we listen to ourselves and others. What is our outcome when listening? is it simply to wait for a gap to insert our already known knowledge and to impress?

“If you want me to move you have to connect with me first” – Jeff’s Daughter

An instant lesson in the power of attention to foster the power of connection.

Are you paying attention? Connection will only follow if you are. Of course this may be paying attention to yourself as well as to others.


Attention is powerful.

The acronym RAIN has its origins in Mindfulness and is often associated with dealing with strong emotions. Here we have a version relating to nicotine addiction.

Recognise the craving

Accept it and let it be Okay

Investigate the cravings

Notice how these cravings change

Before a meeting perhaps ask “What has your attention at this moment?”

How to open a closed door – even a little bit

“What a shame!” I thought. She has limited her life in so many ways, simply by making up her mind about what is possible and not possible for her. It’s like walking down a corridor and deliberately closing many of the doors, locking them and throwing away the key.” This quote is from Shelle Rose Charvet on her blog.

Perhaps you are dealing with someone who is stuck and you feel they will never change?

So if it’s Okay with you I’d like to summarise her post and give you a slightly different view on the subject? This could be a simple approach that is easy to weave into a conversation and will give them the opportunity to offer their opinion on the suggestion. What do you think about that?

So what do you do when you notice that you or someone else have closed a bunch of doors?

Firstget permission. There is little point talking to a closed door.
“Could I give you a slightly different perspective on that?” may open the door a crack.

Check again to pry it open a little wider: “I had an idea about this and I’d like to find out what you think.”

If the person expresses or shows some curiosity, now they are peeking out to see what else might be out there. Good start!

Second: State your door opening idea as a possibility or a suggestion and then give the benefit of the suggestion and the problem it solves.


“I was just thinking what if you broke down this desire into some steps and put them in your calendar as “to do’s” each week (suggestion)? Then it would be clearer, what you needed to do and you could follow your plan (benefit). That way you wouldn’t be stuck in the same place any longer. (problem solved – moving away from the problem).”

Lastly, after they have thought about it or discussed it, help them take a first step through the door. “If X were possible, I’m wondering what the first step might be.”

Example: “If you were to think about making this desire happen, what might be the first step?”

To really help someone open and pass through a door that they had closed, it is important toend on a concrete step, a procedure.

If you end a conversation on all the options, they may still be stuck, because they first have to choose which option to take.

The next time I catch myself deciding something is too difficult, not within my capabilities or not likely to happen, I will:

  1. Ask myself if I would like to consider another possibility (permission).
  2. Ask if it were possible/desirable, what would be the point (benefit) and what issue would it solve for me (problem solved and moved away from)
  3. What would be the first step?