The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective


R U Paying attention?

I’ve paid attention recently to how much attention my team is paying to the topic of paying attention.  We are very concerned that our audience won’t pay attention if we don’t offer some sort of mental break, exercise, or change of pace every 20 minutes.  One of my colleagues suggested adult learner attention spans are equivalent to TV entertainment attention spans.

TV entertainment attention spans!  In my case, that’s channel surfing; DVR’ing to fast-forward through commercials; and cell phone multi-tasking.

But in the sales profession?  Making a living to pay the cable TV bill?  I sure hope we still have the ability to pay attention.  How about you?  Do you need a quick break from reading this 600 word post?  Yep, it’s exactly 600 words.  Welcome to my world LoL!  (A Peek Inside).

OK – may I regain your attention, please?

Did you see the story recently about the Silicon Valley high school that requires students to store their cell phones in an individual, locked bag when they arrive in the morning?  The bags are unlocked by the administrators and the phones returned to the students at the end of the day.  The time in between?  Two expectations: (1) Pay attention and (2) socialize.

When the students were interviewed for the story it was surprising (and refreshing) to hear them say that after a short adjustment, they actually like the approach; they even said they enjoy conversing with the other students.  Imagine that!  Oh, and from a learning standpoint, their academic performance is up.  It’s amazing what can be done when we pay attention, true?

What’s that?  Can you take a quick mental break?  Well, if this little ditty isn’t holding your attention for 600 words that’s my fault; not yours.  It’s OK.  You wouldn’t be the first to say, “Gary, you’re killing me!”

Permission to resume?  Thank you.

My company’s leaders are fully vested in addressing adult learning and behavior change tools, tactics and techniques.  But truth be told, when we get into a deep dive discussion around eBooks; micro-learning; just-in-time video training; etc. I have a hard time paying attention.

As a career sales professional I guess I have been programmed to operate like my prospects operate; if the topic is relevant and the discussion interesting, I will pay attention.  As soon as either departs from things I feel are important, my attention departs too.

I suppose it boils down to the difference between “have to” vs. “want to”.  Those high school students have to go to school.  The educators (and parents) want them to want to go to school.  Therein lays the challenge.

At my company, our sales reps have to be trained; leadership wants them to want to be trained.  And therein lays the challenge.  It’s not unique to my company nor is it unique to the sales profession.

Attention spans can and do fade quickly.  As one example, it’s interesting to me that the once popular, mega-trend of gamification; touted as the do-all and end-all in getting sales reps to pay attention to their daily prospecting tasks and quota performance, is now out of vogue.  Guess the reps got bored with the game.  Maybe they decided the game benefited their overseers more than it benefited them.

What’s that you say?  You haven’t heard about the downward trend of gamification?  Perhaps you weren’t paying attention.

Congratulations!  If you’re reading this you have made it through exactly 600 words, including my signature line below.  Thank you for your attention!


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