Be honest. How many times have you been in the middle of a conversation and you have no idea what the other person is saying. Somewhere, somehow you just drifted off. You got lost along the way.

What made you veer off course? What pulled your attention away from the interaction with a client or a potential one? Those distractions vary and change depending on if you’re with the person or on the phone. Can’t we close our laptops, shut off our iPads, and turn off our desktops?

Maybe you commit the biggest sin of all when it comes to false listening. You’re on a call and you placed the person on speaker, you mute yourself and check email with the touch of an app. Admit it, you’ve done it or it’s been done to you.

Another of the cardinal sins and one that’s committed on a daily basis is the head bob. You signal during the conversation that yes you are listening and understand but you really aren’t. Be prepared if the person speaking gets frustrated and says, “What did I just say”?

If you’re too busy to listen here are some suggestions. Reschedule the call, meeting, dinner or lunch. Be honest. Tell the person with whom you are connecting the reason for re-racking. Limit the distractions. Don’t look at email. If possible isolate yourself somewhere quiet for a phone call. If you’re in a meeting put the phone away.

Here’s the thing. When you aren’t paying attention to what’s being said and lose chunks of a conversation you are slowly killing a relationship. I’m sorry but I don’t want to give my love, time or money to someone who can’t commit to being an active listener. How bout’ you?