My 10 month old Niece Is Teaching Me How To Network.


Right now I’m in Thailand, visiting my brother and his baby. She’s pretty bloody cute. I know everyone thinks that about their sibling’s offspring, but look at this.

Ridiculous, right?

(that’s her going on a boat trip, just rolling with things)

We talk a lot. Well, I talk a lot, whilst she sort of stares at me. But I’ve noticed something:

She really needs my attention. I don’t mean just so that she won’t stick her fingers into plug sockets, or try and eat the dogfood (though that is important). I mean that – even though she can’t speak or understand what I’m saying – she responds best when I am fully focused on her. As soon as I try and check my email, or read a paper over shoulder, or even (carefully) make the tea whilst she’s in my arms, she starts wriggling around and stops being happy in my company.


This Is Not Exclusive To Dribbling Babies.

When you’re talking or listening to someone, they need your focus. You need theirs.

Think about one of those awful people – you know the type: you’re at a party or event, and she’s talking at you (or pretending to listen). But the whole time, her eyes are flicking over your shoulder, looking for someone more important. Suddenly, she breaks you off, saying, “Oh I’m SO sorry, I have to go and talk to this person”. You’re left feeling used, gross and slightly humiliated.



Before You Judge – Check Yourself

That’s an extreme example, but you may be guilty of doing something similar.

When you meet someone for the first time, it’s easy not to be fully present

  • You’re thinking about what you’re going to say next.
  • You’re remembering your to-do list for the rest of the day.
  • You’re panicking because you can’t remember her name.

All of this disconnects you, and makes you a less appealing person to talk to.


The Wonderful and Easy Alternative, That Will Make You Irresistible

If you can, when talking to the new person, fully be there – 

  • listen to what she’s saying
  • maintain full eye contact with her,
  • focus on the moment you’re both sharing

– it will have a huge impact.

We’re all busy people. We’re all easily distracted. If you can be the one person who isn’t – you’re going to make every person you speak to feel like the most special lady (or man) in the room.

She’ll feel chosen. She’ll feel exceptional.

She’ll feel like it’s HER who is irresistible.

How To Do This Without Thinking

Next time you talk to someone – whether it’s a good friend, the gentleman who works in the corner store, or even your baby niece – try being fully present.

  • Really listen to what she’s saying
  • Every time your mind wanders, bring it gently back to the conversation
  • If you need to, take a moment to collect your thoughts before you respond

(this is fine. It will make you seem like you’re considering your response, which will further enforce the feeling that she deserves your best ideas).

Practise this whenever you get the chance, and it will start to come naturally.


It’s Your Turn!

Can you think of a time when someone has made you feel like this? What was it they did?
Or have you noticed the effect that your being present has had on others?

Tell me about in the comments below!

Thanks! You rule.

xx (Yes Yes) Marsha



PS want to know my best-ever client secret – and get even more advice, tips, plus stories that I won’t put on the internet? Come and join the Yes Yes Family – it’s free! Just pop your details in below:

Photo Credits: Grand Canyon NPS & Debbie Ramone via Compfight cc


  • Andrea

    Reply Reply May 17, 2013

    First, that is one seriously CUUUUTE little lady!! :)

    And second, I could not agree more with your suggestions. I’ve been “putting myself out there” and have gone to several networking events lately. Since networking doesn’t really come naturally to me, I took the advice of a trusted coach who told me to set an intention for each interaction, and to be very present with each person. I have done exactly this and have made some really meaningful connections – including two new clients!!

    You’re so right about being in the moment with each person you’re with – whether in business or life. :)

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply May 20, 2013

      Ha ha, thanks, I’m a big fan of hers :)

      Having an intention for each interaction is a brilliant idea. Especially if you can start off setting the bar low – eg. “To introduce myself, get their name, and find out what their business is”.

      Well done on putting that and the being present into action, and the two new clients!

  • Lois Olson

    Reply Reply May 20, 2013

    Marsha, this is such a great reminder that the to-do list and all those others things can wait. That giving the person we’re with the gift of our full attention is so rare these days. Thanks for sharing this. I tend to be goal-oriented and focused on the next task I have to do, but truthfully, when it comes down to it, it’s the people in my life that matter most. The tasks really aren’t that important.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply May 20, 2013

      Lois, you’re so right. I think that particularly when you’re feeling excited about moving your business forward, it’s really hard to pull yourself away from that (and your computer), and point yourself back towards real people!

  • Natasha Ward

    Reply Reply May 22, 2013

    How many times in the last week have you had a conversation with someone who was checking their emails or looking at Facebook while “talking” to you?
    (How many times have I done it, to people who won’t complain, like my brother…..)

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply May 23, 2013

      I know. I try and switch my phone on silent when I’m meeting with a friend (unless I’m waiting on something urgent), though it can be different with family.

  • Diana

    Reply Reply May 24, 2013

    Hi Marsha!

    Thank you for this text, so helpful for people like me – someone who wants to become an ‘ex-shy’ but don’t know where/how to start – maybe paying more attention to my own acts towards other people is the best way to begin, right?! :]

    Will follow your tips and guidance here, and definitely try it harder when interacting with others.
    Being the one that is open and attentive all the time when in contact to other people may be demanding, but I’m sure is also very rewarding in the end.

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing!
    All the best for you!

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply May 30, 2013

      Thanks Diana! Sometimes it’s not so much about trying harder, but more where you direct your trying energy.
      Good luck!

  • Esther Joybelle

    Reply Reply May 6, 2015

    Wow, what a cutie! It’s really interesting that you’ve noticed your niece get fidgety when she hasn’t got your full attention. It makes total sense with what I’ve learned about how babies’ brain development is relational, i.e. they biologically NEED adult interaction in order for the brain to develop. (Which is why kids who aren’t getting enough attention misbehave … because negative attention is always better for the brain than no attention.) Powerful stuff, because with kids, we have the ability to literally shape their brains, and with networking with adults, we have the ability to shape their experiences, and maybe even more like their emotions, perspectives, values etc.

    • Marsha (Yes Yes Marsha)

      Marsha Shandur

      Reply Reply May 7, 2015

      Esther! This is definitely in the running for Favourite Comment of All Time!

      SO interesting that kids NEED it and absolutely makes sense. And YES about being able to shape their brains! It’s only through my own therapy that focuses on Attachment Theory that I’ve become so much more aware of how important my behaviour around kids is!

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