A 21st Century Bad Habit



Wow!  Everyone seems to be in a hurry and so impatient.  It’s really hard to get anyone’s attention.  It doesn’t matter; in meetings, on the phone, in emails, and maybe most of all in safety training settings. In my work as a safety professional I focus on training, specifically adult learning.  I wonder if you’re experiencing the same problem with your safety training that I am?  It seems like getting and keeping anyone’s attention (much less anyone I’m trying to educate or train) is becoming more and more difficult.  Maybe it’s me?  Is winter dulling my skills.  Have the games I learned from Linda Tapp failing me?  Simulations….team problem solving….case studies….games.  Why won’t they pay attention.  Maybe it’s not me.  I think they all have ADHD. 

All this made me think of another blog article that I read recently.  It was by Connie Dieken, author of  ‘Talk Less, Say More’ with three tips on “How to Influence the World – One Short AttentionSpan at a Time.”  Part of the perception problem with most anything, is that people today often jump to conclusions or judgements without taking the time to learn what “it” is all about.  Bummer.

“I know this already”…. “This isn’t worth my time”…. “We’ve got more important things to focus on.”  This clearly applies to safety training.  Here’s where Ms. Diekens article relates.  She wrote,

“Today you’ll leave a voicemail that will be zapped mid-sentence.  You’ll send an email that’s unceremoniously dismissed.  As you try to make a point, someone will rudely interrupt.  You’ll attend a meeting where no one will listen to the presenter.  And the guy in the next cubicle will shoot you an email instead of talking to you face-to-face.

It’s just another day in the 21st century!

We’re living in a distracted, impatient, attention-deficit world.  As the demands on our time and attention explode, a 21st century bad habit has emerged:  Chronic impatience.  It’s as if we each have a channel-changing remote control embedded in our restless, fidgity brains.  If someone takes too long to get to the point? ZAP!  If we think something won’t work? ZAP!  If we think we don’t have the time? ZAP!”

So, to my point.  We need to be a bit less impatient, and a great deal more inquisitive.  There’s a lot we don’t know, so if we take the time to slow down, listen and learn we just might “See the Big Picture”.  Try a pre-test to help establish what the learners don’t know.  Get experienced workers to share near-miss incidents, helping others to see the possibility of bad situations.

What can we do to slow downor focus the self-talk, and get our learners to leave the world “on hold” and pay attention? Any stories, idead, tips?