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Attention and Focus
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Converged Words

Converged Words
Exercises, Icebreakers, Large Group, Attention and Focus, Storytelling, Learning, Creative Writing

Article Rating:::: 4 Ratings :::: Tuesday, July 23, 2019

This is a fun exercise focusing on word play where the delegates need to converge on a common word based on previously suggested words. When convergence happens, it is immensely enjoyable. The pair feel as if they read each other’s minds. As such, this is a great exercise to bring people closer together. You can also use this exercise as an icebreaker though make sure you don’t run it for longer than 15 minutes.

Consider using this exercise for team building, enhancing vocabulary, creativity and memory. It is also a fantastic exercise for practicing a foreign language as delegates must constantly think of new words in a systematic way and since they get to work in teams, they can learn from each other too. You can also run this easily explained exercise for a large group as teams work in parallel without much impact on timing.

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Active Listening Skills Roleplay

Active Listening Skills Roleplay
Exercises, Team Building, Communication Skills, Attention and Focus, Listening Skills

Article Rating:::: 13 Ratings :::: Tuesday, July 9, 2019

This is a highly educational and entertaining exercise on asking open questions. Open questions lead to more information while closed questions lead to a yes/no answer. Open questions are usually much more effective in maximising communication. Unfortunately, most people tend to ask closed questions and it is always a good idea to highlight the differences and encourage people to ask open questions more often.

In addition to practicing asking open questions, this exercise also helps with active listening. Delegates must focus and pay attention to each answer given by a volunteer as they must relate to this immediately through the next question they ask. Hence, this exercise is a great tool to boost communication skills. You can use this exercise for a group of people irrespective of whether they know each other or not. It would still be an effective exercise.

Considering the nature of this exercise, it can also be used as a team building tool, since volunteers need to constantly give information about themselves which can help bring people closer together.

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Medieval vs. Modern Roleplay

Medieval vs. Modern Roleplay
Exercises, Personal Impact, Attention and Focus, Listening Skills, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 4 Ratings :::: Tuesday, July 2, 2019

In this exercise delegates put themselves in the medieval era and try to look at the world from a new point of view. Their view is then compared to modern times. In the medieval era, people didn’t know what laser or a computer or a humble can opener was. When a modern person mentions them, a medieval person should get confused. As you can imagine, this is a very fun exercise.

Through this contrast of era many topics can be explored and scrutinised. This exercise helps us, the modern people, to appreciate what the medieval people didn’t have. Here are some examples for comparison:

  • Technologies
  • Discoveries
  • Philosophical understanding
  • Social issues
  • Attitudes towards religion such as believing without questioning
  • Attitudes towards justice
  • Racial, gender and equality issues
  • Political correctness
  • Meritocracy versus class-based society
  • Attitude towards the ruling class

This can be a fun way to explore some very serious topics, though the main benefit of this exercise is to practice listening skills. The exercise is designed to make people focus on what the other person is saying. It is also great for roleplaying, acting, storytelling and learning history.

 

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How to Practice Paying Attention to Detail

How to Practice Paying Attention to Detail
Exercises, Creativity, Personal Impact, Attention and Focus, Memory, Learning

Article Rating:::: 84 Ratings :::: Monday, June 5, 2017

One of the biggest and perhaps saddest trends in our era is that attention spans are shrinking. It is primarily fuelled by the explosion of online content, rise of social media and the ever-increasing range of things to obtain and experience. It is great to be living is such a rich world, the like of which we have never had in the entire history of mankind. However, there is a price to pay for anything good and in this case, it seems to be our shrinking attention spans, increased stress and the feeling that there is so much to do in so little time.

To learn how to manage attention, there are several exercises you can go through to reverse the trend and gain more control. In this article, you will be introduced to a series of attention management and concentration exercises that will help you achieve this.

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Why Most People Focus on Efficiency but Forget About Effectiveness

Why Most People Focus on Efficiency but Forget About Effectiveness
Exercises, Productivity, Goal Setting, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 162 Ratings :::: Monday, August 29, 2016

There is a fundamental difference between efficiency and effectiveness. Most people focus on efficiency. How to get something done faster? How to get somewhere quick? How to achieve more in a given time? How to finish the day’s tasks and go home early? How to do little and get the most from it? How to do only 20% of the effort to get 80% of the results?

This is all good and important. However, it should not be at the expense of something much more important; effectiveness. This captures the idea that what you are doing is going to help you get closer to your goals. Effectiveness is purely personal since it is entirely based on your specific personal goals. In contrast, efficiency is universal—there is a way to do something faster and you can learn to do it too. Effectiveness is about how far you are from your goal and if what you are doing now is going to get you closer to that goal. Efficiency is about how fast you get there.

When it comes to time management, goal setting and productivity, most people tend to focus mainly on efficiency. What is an ideal time management system? What is a good calendar app? How can you do something faster? Where can you get training for it? In contrast, there seems to be very little focus on effectiveness; why are you doing what you are doing? Why should you be doing this rather than something else?

What is the point of getting somewhere faster when where you get to is not where you want to be? How important is it that you check where you are and where you are heading periodically rather than just constantly obsessing about how to get there faster?

If you look around, you will notice that many people are suffering from this misunderstanding and lack of awareness. People spend a huge amount of time getting a degree on a given topic only to realise it is not for them. In a big city, people rush back and forth to work day after day not thinking what this is all about and why they are in the rat race? People get into a job thinking that it is only temporary and end up staying there at pretty much the same level for thirty years and then feel unhappy that no one wants to employ them for anything else.

Hence, a reflection in this area can be quite an eye opener. It is important to learn how to be constantly aware of the distinction so that you don’t get carried away with efficiency at the expense of effectiveness.

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Energiser: Wake Them Up

Energiser: Wake Them Up
Exercises, Train the Trainer, Exercises for Kids, Presentation Skills, Large Group, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 102 Ratings :::: Monday, July 4, 2016

It is just after lunch and you are about to teach a new theory to your delegates. Ideally you should not cover this after lunch but you have had no choice. You notice that delegates are falling sleep. Energy is low, concentration is gone and people are getting bored. What do you do? You need to energise them. Other than opening up the windows or calling for a break you can also use the energiser described here to awake the mind and the body. This exercise is particularly useful for younger delegates. For more senior delegates, you will need to make a judgment to see if this is a suitable activity.

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What Are the Basic Principles of Memory

What Are the Basic Principles of Memory
Public Speaking, Exercises, Decision Making, Attention and Focus, Memory

Article Rating:::: 36 Ratings :::: Monday, June 20, 2016

This is a fantastic exercise in teaching a number of important topics related to memory and retention. The exercise is actually rather simple—going through a list of words and recalling what has been stated. However, the way the list is structured helps to cover various interesting topics in relation with memory such as the following:

  • Effect of primacy on memory
  • Effect of recency on memory
  • Repetition
  • Element of surprise
  • False-memory
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Weekly Slogans

Weekly Slogans
Training Articles, Motivation, Goal Setting, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 95 Ratings :::: Monday, June 22, 2015

In Chapter 14 of Focused Determination, a motivational technique is presented which we call “Weekly Slogans”. These are inspiring quotes or “Slogans” that you choose for personal motivation. As described in the book, you need a collection of them so that you can use a different one each week. A list is provided in the book (in Appendix B) which is included below.

As indicated in the book, this page is where you can submit your favourite weekly slogans so that other readers can get inspired by them while preparing and extending their own personal lists.

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Communication Exercise: First Person but Few “I”s

Communication Exercise: First Person but Few “I”s
Exercises, Personal Impact, Attention and Focus, Storytelling, Creative Writing

Article Rating:::: 27 Ratings :::: Monday, May 26, 2014

Imagine a person who talks about himself all the time. The conversation is full of “I”, “me”, “my” and they constantly talk about what happens in their lives. Such people don’t tend to last long as friends. Usually, the people we most like are those who are caring and selfless rather than those who are self-centred. To such people nothing seems to be as important or interesting as themselves.

Unfortunately, we all might suffer from a degree of self-centred view from time to time and would need to keep an eye on it. This exercise helps delegates see what it means to shift focus to others even when you want to talk about your own views. It is a clever and subtle way to shift attention to others without overtly forcing them to change.

This exercise also helps delegates see how important it is to let events speak for themselves. It focuses the mind to cover facts more than subjective emotions and let a listener decide for himself on what to interpret. The exercise is ideal for creative writing as it provides a structured approach to storytelling.

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Design Exercise: Design a Political Cartoon

Design Exercise: Design a Political Cartoon
Exercises, Team Building, Attention and Focus, Art, Storytelling

Article Rating:::: 59 Ratings :::: Monday, May 19, 2014

This is a creative design exercise, allowing participants to work together as a team in achieving an objective. As part of this exercise, delegates will get to choose a number of political cartoons and have an attempt at designing one. The design is just a pretext to get people talk to each other and share what they like or dislike. The cartoons provide an opportunity to laugh about serious stuff so the exercise is light hearted but can have significant value as people can easily end up discussing values, current affairs, ethical and political issues and of course politics.

Note that the emphasis of this exercise is in the descriptive design of a cartoon as opposed to the actual drawing or art. Most people are not skilled in drawing and forcing them to draw in this exercise might make them feel uncomfortable. This is why the drawing part is ignored (though of course you can optionally add it if it suits your training needs). However, there is no reason why people cannot come up with an idea for a political cartoon which this exercise captures.

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