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Preventing Distraction from- squirrel!!

In this age of digital pervasiveness, are attention spans getting shorter? Is multitasking a myth or actually possible? As a frequent presenter in a room full of adults, I always know I have the audience if I can keep them "hands off" of their mobile devices. But what happens in your workplace- are you constantly distracted? There are some tips and tricks you can learn too. 

But first some information about the current state of play. 


If we have such little amount of time dedicated to training and development, then no wonder we're the home of stagnant ideas and little improvements on current processes! We're flying the plane while building it and that is seen as a point of pride in our industry. It shouldn't be. We need to take the time to hone our tools in addition to doing the work. 

I must confess I'm a serial multi-tasker most days, I can make it work, it's an art form I've truly mastered.  The time when I'm most productive is early mornings and I have to have noise on when I create, absolute silence and sitting still are my devils of productivity, I'm constantly moving and flipping between projects. Most folks would be driven mad by my process.

That translates to my presentations. They're not meant for the overtly serious, sit still and lecture enjoying type folks. You're going to laugh, you're going to be challenged, and you will learn at least one take away that you can implement back at your work location. 

Tips of the trade? 

  • Have people be active: raising hands, standing, up, playing games... do it! Provide brain stimulation: I use thinking putty and other fidget devices for my audiences, adults love them too and they help with absorption of information.

  • Build great presentations: no bullet pointed slides you will read to your audience, think images and stories, just like with your donors

  • Allow questions throughout: when the moment strikes them, allow people to ask questions. Don't say to an audience "hold your questions until the end" It's off-putting and will lead to crickets at the end.

  • Acknowledge the reality: When most people leave a training they get absorbed into their daily grind so while they are there, have them send themselves an action item for the future- I enjoy using futureme.org.

Not every new technology and idea needs to be chased. Reinventing the wheel is frustrating, why not just add a new set of tires? Stick with one great improvement and do it well then move on. Try some ideation, sit in a space without your computer, or in a space that inspires you. Go for a walk, look at photos, listen to your music. Do something to shake up your routine and remove distractions. and if all else fails go feed the squirrels! How do you handle the overwhelming work/distraction conundrum? What are your tips and tricks? Cheers, Lynne

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