November 19, 2020

How Zoom Overdoses are Impacting Our Brains

What an upheaval we're going through right now. With nearly all meetings, plus learning and development, having shifted online, all too many people are spending huge proportions of their days attached to screens.

This is impacting on our brains folks! Yes really. For our kids too. Did you know that a significant change in circumstances, like the one we're going through right now, can change DNA in one generation?

Seriously.

So how we respond right now is really very critical. Don't get me wrong, it's fantastic we have the technology to keep us connected remotely, and the way its functionality is developing is truly fabulous. What we do need to pay some attention to is how we use it.

You see for the vast majority of people using screens for meetings and learning, the way they're doing it isn't designed to work well with the brain. Consider just a very few fundamental points here:

  • Information comes at us so quickly and so unrelentingly that it frequently overwrites what's held in short-to-medium term memory. This means what we'd previously learned, or discussed, or committed to doing easily gets lost.

  • Which of your senses are most engaged when on a video conference? Most likely sight and sound, right? That's it. Yet study after study demonstrates how much longer-lasting multi-sensory memories are. Engage more senses and you'll remember better. But the way video conferencing is being used in most organisations puts a serious damper on this. The result: people forget things more quickly.

  • The way we're using technology is making our thinking more and more linear without us realising. Marketing guru Martin Lindstrom, with whom we've worked, shows how this is negatively affecting creativity, and our ability to solve new challenges in innovative ways. If this continues long-term, it's going to have a fundamental bearing on our survival.

  • When you're on a video conference, what general direction are your eyes pointing? Up? Straight ahead? Down? We see so many people working from laptops where they're looking down at the screen and camera. The same with mobile phones. Some are sitting looking straight ahead, which is great, but a huge percentage of people aren't. This is directly impacting how their brains are processing information - and most don't even realise. If you'd like to know more about why this is so important, and the simple things you can do about it, do drop me a line.

Quite apart from designing working days and learning programmes with the brain in mind to support achieving business outcomes, perhaps the most important thing right now is to bring the joy back to learning; the laughter, genuine creativity and fun back to meetings and days spent in isolation.

Several clients have asked us to help them make their online learning experiences more engaging and more memorable, bringing brain-friendly learning to life - online, and the good news is, it IS possible.

We're now running both taster sessions and full development programmes - virtually - to help trainers, facilitators, and leaders who want to make their meetings have more impact. Do get in touch if you'd like to know how we can do the same for you.

There's a significant risk that this period will affect mental health, and the future of the next generation, so designing with the brain in mind - for our general working days, and for our learning and development - is going to be ever more important as we face the next normal.

#nextnormal #leadershipdevelopment #training #learninganddevelopment

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