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Too busy to notice

By Gail Z. Martin

I do a lot of signings in bookstores.  My table is always right up at the door, and I try to greet everyone who comes in with a smile, a free bookmark and a 10 second question to connect with people who like to read my kind of book.

It works well for about 75% of the people who come in.  And the rest?  They’re too busy to notice.  Many of them are talking on their cell phones.  They’re so busy talking to people who aren’t there, they have no time to meet someone who’s standing right in front of them.

Others are in a hurry.  They brush past you without making eye contact like they’re afraid you’re going to spray perfume on them or ask for a buck.  Sometimes, they cut me off before I can finish my “Did you get a bookmark?” question with a curt “Don’t want one.”  How would they know?  They have no idea what I’m offering them  or who I am, or why I’m there.

So what did they miss?  Well, they missed meeting an honest-to-goodness author, which for some people counts as sorta cool.  They missed finding out about a book they or someone they know might have liked.  But they could have missed out on a million dollars, the love of their life, or their next job for all they know, because they were in too much of a hurry to find out what was being offered because they were too busy.

What are you missing out on because you’re too busy to notice?  Flowers in the garden?  Kids who won’t stay the age they are forever?  A spouse who is trying to talk to you?  Neighbors who might turn into friends?  Acquaintances who might become clients?  You’ll never know until you slow down enough to listen.

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