I have great clients, whom I care about deeply. Yet sometimes in our coaching sessions, despite being present and focused on our conversation, I notice when their eyes dart off to an email on their second screen or the phone beside them lights up drawing their attention, all while they are still talking and often in mid-sentence. Yes, I notice even the slickest of you…

I never take it personally; you’re busy being important and awesome people with whom others rely.


There are a few tricks we can employ to ensure we’re being as awesome and present for ourselves and for those who need all of your awesomeness and presence.

I offer you three questions under the guise of:

Practicing Presence: Addictive Device Era 
(I’m not a Swifty, but you’re welcome to the reference if you are)

1. WHERE’S THE PHONE? – Around the holidays I remember having a conversation with a leader who told me he had inadvertently left his cell phone in the car when he attended his team’s afternoon holiday party. He reflected on how much more present he felt without having the device simply on his person and going forward he would like to repeat the behavior. I shudder to think we have (myself included) become a bit Pavlovian with the buzzing and the dinging, and despite not NEEDNG to always check, we’re training ourselves that we should.

Where will you put your phone, when someone comes into your office or when you’re in a virtual meeting, to practice presence?

Will you put it in a desk drawer? Will you turn it over? Will you leave it behind?

2. IS YOUR SMARTWATCH GIVING YOU CARPAL TUNNEL? – How many times a day are you twisting your wrist to look at letters, words, and their corresponding vibrations that, let’s be honest most of us of a certain age can hardly see without some type of assistive ocular device? I was guilty of this one too until I accepted the harsh reality that I either needed to take my Apple Watch off while in session or I simply could no longer wear it to work. 

If you are a smartwatch wearer, how will you manage your wrist when someone comes into your office or when you’re in a virtual meeting, to practice presence? 

Will you take it off? Will you put it in your desk drawer? Will you leave it on the charger and opt for a less addictive, smart enough version?

3. HOW MANY SCREENS DO YOU NEED? – I do a lot of virtual presenting and therefore I do share my second screen quite a bit. However, when someone comes into the office and no screens are needed to have that conversation, the answer to this question is NONE. When you’re in a virtual meeting and no screens are shared, the answer is ONE. Minimize, minimize, minimize are probably the remaining answers to any other question I might devise. 

If you have created a kingdom of screens around you, how will you manage your views when someone comes into your office or when you’re in a virtual meeting, to practice presence?

Will you minimize screens that have no use in your meeting? Will you close your laptop? Will you turn your iPad/Tablet over?

More access is not necessarily better, more can become the enemy of presence. It’s okay if we all need a little more practice to get there.