Professional Development & Learning Services

It’s a Brain Thing!

Have you ever wondered why it’s so easy to lose focus when someone is speaking?  Or why you sometimes struggle to listen attentively, or pay attention, even if you are interested in the conversation?

Well, first of all – know that you’re not alone; and second – there really is a good explanation. It’s all in your head!

To be more precise, it’s easy to get distracted because of how our brain works.

The human brain processes what we hear and what we say at different speeds.  In general, we can listen and comprehend more words per minute than the rate at which people normally speak.

It's a FactAnd the ability for others to engage or mesmerize us with their messages enough to hold our attention, varies widely from speaker to speaker.   As a result, our minds are prone to race and wander while waiting for the other person to finish speaking!

It takes awareness, patience, and practice to overcome this tendency.

While you cannot wave a magic wand to give someone else dynamic communication or speaking skills, you can enhance your own ability to listen and be a better communicator.

The secret is to keep your brain fully engaged in the conversation by being present in the moment.  Focus on the other person as someone from whom you may learn something new if you remain open to the interaction.

People communicate both verbally and non-verbally, so when you start tuning out the words, open your eyes!  Allow your brain to stay involved, gathering more information and putting together the full story that goes beyond words alone.

By turning your attention to the speaker’s body language, tone, inflections, choice of words, etc. your brain will interpret the entire message, including the conscious and unconscious cues being communicated.  With practice, you may find yourself understanding others better than ever before!

Of course, this means that when you are the speaker, you must remain aware of the non-verbal messages you are sharing with others.  Ensure you are an engaging communicator by supporting your words with matching actions, tone, and visuals to keep the attention of other wandering minds!

Author: Julie Ramdial, President of U Learn Enterprises, Inc.