Selective Attention

A few years ago I was in the mode of shopping for a new car: a MINI Cooper. Suddenly, I noticed how many MINI Coopers were sharing the road with me. This concept, known to researchers as “selective attention,” refers to our brains hardwired tendency to focus on one thing at a time. A fascinating article in the Wall St. Journal discusses this idea further by relating it to listening in on select conversations during cocktail parties or even talking on the cell phone vs. talking to a passenger while driving an automobile. Relatively few members of the population are effective at multitasking (2.5 percent) and even students who are using Facebook in school classes are not learning effectively–which bring consequences when it comes time for exams. For marketers and PR people, it means we rarely have someone’s undivided attention. What does it mean for you?

Advertisement

Emotional Vacancy–and other problems with e-mail

Ever try to communicate sarcasm, friendship or affection via e-mail? How about being corrected for misbehavior by a supervisor via an e-mail exchange? The problem is that e-mail is a poor communications tool that lacks the subtlety and formality of face-to-face communication. Without proper tone or the nuances of body language, sometimes there is a gap in communication. A recent study summarized in this article: http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/managing/article/communication-mistakes-every-office-makes-alana-horowitz explains some of the inherent problems with the misuse of e-mail. Afterall, it’s difficult to listen to someone via e-mail. What do you think?