Imagine that you are witnessing a typical interaction between two persons at the beginning of their relationship, when each of them wants the other to consider them as a preferable option. So what would be your observation of their interaction? Well! In all probability, it would be:
- Almost unflinching eye-contact
- Torsos aimed at each other
- Every change in expression paid attention to
- Keenness to listen to the other person
- Interest in each detail of the other person – in all aspects
If you synthesize the points given above, you would realize that the common element would be – in one word – ‘attention’. It’s a classic fact of life that irrespective of the domain, in the initial phase of any relationship – whenthere is desire to possess, aspiration to acquire, apprehension of competitors, fear of losing, and ambivalence regarding other person’s stand – you are at your attentive best. This is true in case of beloved, customer, recruit, and even associates.
However, as time passes and the interaction as well as the connection becomes more secure, exclusive, dependent and repetitive, the ‘attention’ recedes. Then what follows is a downward spiral for the relationship. That’s typically the story behind ever-increasing cases of divorces, breakups, domestic violence, and infidelity on the personal front; and that of customer churn, employee turnover, broken agreements and violated contracts on the professional front.
What keeps a relationship alive is that illusory, ephemeral and fragile concept of ‘connection’. Closest to reality, it gets manifested in the form of attention. No amount of gifts, compliments, offers, CRM initiatives, loyalty programs, renewal benefits, or bonuses can be a substitute of attention. They can at best be a supplement. Yes, there can never be a replacement for the basic urge to attend to someone.
Often known as ‘attunement’ in the domain of emotional & social intelligence, this attention plays the all-important role in retention of a relationship or association. If you lose that, you lose that secret sauce of ‘connect’.
Dr. Sandeep Atre (Founder-Director, Socialigence)