Humans have evolved to focus their attention on what matters most. To navigate a complex environment, we have ended up with a kind of brain that vigorously filters out unnecessary information. This filtering mechanism is always active and is essential in managing information overload.
For example, after entering a new environment, you start to pay attention to different things to find what is interesting. You notice the unusual architecture, the odd furniture, the people, the smell and the feel of being in this new place.
If you come back to this environment the second time, you may not scan it as intensely as the first time since your brain “thinks” it already knows about it. Instead, your brain tries to focus on other things, freeing up the processing resources for whatever else you need to do with your brain.
This filtering has its great advantages as it allows us to navigate complex environments without feeling overwhelmed by them. Once we get used to a complex environment, we can start to concentrate on something more focused and demanding.
There is however a downside to this filtering. We are susceptible to miss the obvious even if it is right in front of us. Once familiar, the brain can become lazy in processing new information and attention is simply lost.
To remain focused it is essential to practice paying attention and consciously reverse the filtering process. Several methods are presented here that allow you as a trainer to increase the attention of your delegates especially if they are attending a multi-day course where they are returning to the same training environment.