Learn-a-Palooza Tip #1: Keep Calm and Carry On with Eye Brain Control

Today I had the pleasure of attending a day of learning sponsored by the Puget Sound Chapter of ATD (Association for Talent Development). Titled “Learn-a-Palooza 3.0”, the day brought together learning professionals from across the region. I’m glad I popped in. I picked up at least three tips to benefit my consulting clients and to share here. That means three squared or cubed or something, right?

Learn-a-Palooza Tip #1: Keep calm and carry on with Eye Brain Control

Renee Malone from Kick the Moon, LLC began her mini session titled Eye Brain Control: The Neuroscience of Making Eye Contact with a remarkable premise: To limit distractions and stay focused on your message as a presenter, use your eyes. Making a connection with eye contact helps you maintain your train of thought and calm your nervous system. “It’s the distraction that makes us feel nervous,” according to Renee.

I’m not skeptical by nature — I’d much rather adopt a good new idea than prowl around it looking for faults — but this sounded too…easy. So when Renee asked for volunteers I was the first to put my hand up to give it a try. And voila, a minute in front of the group practicing this simple technique and my breathing slowed, my heart rate came back into balance and my head stayed clear even though I was nervous.

Up for learning something new? Try this one with some friends first, and then practice it in front of groups at meetings or the next time you teach.

  1. Make Eye Contact: Use your eyes to make a connection. First, establish eye contact with one person.
  2. Complete one thought: Deliver a phrase, sentence of thought as a sound bite.
  3. Pause: Stop talking, then break away to find another set of eyes.
  4. Move to another person: Randomly selecting another person, make eye contact. Repeat.

If you find that your eyes are starting to dart around and you are talking faster and getting breathless from visual over stimulation, take a breath and pick up again with steps 1-2-3.

Thanks for the tip, Renee!

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