1) You realize you should, at least, pretend to listen. But the mind has a tendency to wander.
2) Why are there so many water bottles? you wonder. How long is this meeting going to last?
3) You start thinking about your To-Do list. It’s impressive, really, how many things you’re not doing.
4) Chocolate donuts! The ones over there look tasty. But wait, you’re on a diet. Oh, who cares.
5) Focus, focus, focus. Good.
6) Right now, you’re extremely focused on the word, focus.
7) Oh look, a tweet: “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention, according to Herbert Simon.”
8) Who’s Herbert Simon?
9) You’ve heard rumors—the company is about to be re-organized, or downsized, or sold, or something. How will that affect you?
10) One thing for sure, you definitely need a donut.
11) Why are you even at this meeting? And who’s that person over there? Is that Herbert Simon?
12) You just realized something bad, there are 59 slides left. Is it too late, you wonder, to go to clown college?
Tip: Attention is the key problem of every meeting, whether you’re talking to one person or a thousand.
When you speak, focus on your main message. Focus on your key points. But focus, mainly, on your audience. Because it’s not what you say—it’s what they hear.
P.S. Herbert Simon was a Nobel Prize winning economist, and one of the first to talk about the attention economy.
© Copyright 2018 Paul Hellman. All rights reserved.
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