You are sitting in a lecture, day dreaming about what you are going to do over the weekend when your mind immediately snaps to attention to what is going on at the front of the room. Everyone is silent. Your mind races, grasping for the data it needs at this exact moment.
What happened? What brought your attention back to the front of the room? It was nothing more than a simple question posed by the presenter, followed by silence to allow everyone the time to contemplate the possible answer.
The Natural Law of Attention states that our attention is naturally drawn to those things that demand our involvement. Questions demand our involvement. When we get asked a question, seventy-five percent of the time we immediately start thinking of an answer. It is a built in reaction that was hardwired at a very early age.
Remember back to your first educational experiences. When the teacher asked a question, you immediately sprang into action to think of the answer. You enthusiastically raised your hand to be recognized as the smartest person in the class because you had the answer. That activity was repeated so many times, it became a habit.
Let’s go home for a minute. From the time you learned to speak, every time you were asked a question by a parent or other authority figure, if you ever made the mistake of not answering, you were immediately chastised with an “answer the question” reprimand. Our brains have been trained to think of an answer when we are asked a question.
If attention is waning when speaking to an individual, small group, or large audience – ask a question. Get their attention with automatic involvement by asking a question.