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Attention and Focus
Training Exercises and Resources

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:::: 44 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:::: 84 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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Team Building Exercise: Take it Without Touching

Team Building Exercise: Take it Without Touching
Games, Exercises, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 78 Ratings :::: Monday, April 14, 2014

This is a simple but fun team building exercise most suitable for outdoors. This exercise can also be a fun activity for kids. You can run competitively and give a prize to the winner. It helps to train people to stay focused while being totally aware of their environment as the dynamic changes. The winner must be good at predicting what others are going to do while keeping them guessing on he would do.

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Icebreaker: You Can Only Ask One Question

Icebreaker: You Can Only Ask One Question
Exercises, Icebreakers, Problem Solving, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 3674 Ratings :::: Monday, February 17, 2014

This exercise can be used as an icebreaker but can also to see how delegates approach problem solving. The problems considered can also be customised to make the exercise even more useful when an ideal answer is found. As a result, it is a power template to use when you need to make people focus and make important decisions.

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Art Exercise: The Lost Artworks

Art Exercise: The Lost Artworks
Exercises, Attention and Focus, Memory, Art

Article Rating:::: 52 Ratings :::: Monday, January 20, 2014

This is an elaborate memory exercise that can be used for several purposes.

  • You can use it to teach specific memory techniques in memorising pictures, names and words.
  • You can use it to teach the associations of images with words.
  • You can use it to help delegates memorise the characteristics of famous paintings in history. This is ideal for art students.
  • You can use it to test delegates on memory recall.

You can easily adjust the difficulty level of this exercise by manipulating the timing and the amount of memorisation the delegates need to go through. You should decide this upfront based on your training needs and the capability of your delegates.

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How to Avoid Choking in a Public Performance

How to Avoid Choking in a Public Performance
Public Speaking, Training Articles, Train the Trainer, Personal Impact, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 194 Ratings :::: Monday, September 30, 2013

You are an expert in your field. The management is very impressed with your skills and wants you to share it with others. You have been asked to give a talk to your fellow colleagues or anyone else in the company who is interested in the subject.

The day of the presentation comes. Some of your colleagues have come from other branches of your organisation to attend your talk which is part of a series of presentations. You are excited to be a presenter as this is what you always wanted to do, but you are also feeling very nervous. You have the dreaded butterflies in stomach and cannot seem to be able to shake off the nerves.

The speaker before you has now finished and it is your turn to present. You just want to get on with it now. You go on stage and set yourself up. You start the presentation while paying attention to every detail. You want to make sure your voice comes out naturally, that you are facing the audience the right way, that you are saying the sentences correctly and that you are not forgetting anything crucial.

There is also a voice in your head that constantly says, “don’t screw this up, don’t mess this up, you have got only one chance…”

Two minutes into the presentation, you suddenly feel you cannot remember what you need to say next. It’s just gone. Your mind is blank. The audience is staring at you, expecting you to say something, but you cannot think of a single word to say. You feel out of breath, almost paralyzed.

You chocked…

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Team Building Exercise: Touch the Tennis Ball Once

Team Building Exercise: Touch the Tennis Ball Once
Leadership, Games, Exercises, Team Building, Exercises for Kids, Attention and Focus

Article Rating:::: 210 Ratings :::: Monday, July 29, 2013

This is a fantastic exercise in getting a group practice working together, coordinating their activities and learning to work more efficiently. Delegates must review their performance and think of better strategies in problem solving.

As an analogy this exercise can be thought of as a production team tasked to produce a gadget where the efficiency of the team leads to better production rates. The team must think of ways to improve the production rate and workflow. They must think of strategies that can be implemented easily in practice and improved on. The exercise requires teamwork, leadership, communication skills and the ability of each team to get the best from every individual.

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Active Listening Exercise: As Mark Just Said

Active Listening Exercise: As Mark Just Said
Exercises, Communication Skills, Attention and Focus, Listening Skills, Memory

Article Rating:::: 97 Ratings :::: Monday, July 22, 2013

Most people are not good listeners. This is even more pronounced when people get excited about sharing their own views or thoughts and like to express them and share them with others quickly. The problem is that in their excitement they miss what has just been said. Over time this can develop into a bad habit leading to miscommunication and misunderstanding.

This exercise is designed to help delegates practice listening to others and avoid jumping in before they have shown that they have understood what is shared. After a few tries, participants will quickly learn to listen carefully and will significantly improve their communication skills by understanding other people’s positions and avoid repeating what has already been stated.

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Active Listening Exercise: Listen Carefully and Contribute

Active Listening Exercise: Listen Carefully and Contribute
Exercises, Team Building, Attention and Focus, Listening Skills

Article Rating:::: 83 Ratings :::: Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Active listening is a critical communication skill and it is important to know how to do it. This exercise has been designed in such a way that encourages delegates to pay their utmost attention while engaged in a conversation. The exercise forces delegates to stay focused throughout the activity and be ready to contribute when necessary.

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5 Useful Methods to Increase Attention and Focus

5 Useful Methods to Increase Attention and Focus
Exercises, Train the Trainer, Large Group, Attention and Focus, Memory

Article Rating:::: 80 Ratings :::: Tuesday, May 7, 2013

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.

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