Your brain is built to survive!
It’s in the biology and chemistry of your brain to survive at all costs.
Survival and protection are at the top of the list when it comes to brain activity. It even outranks thinking in priority.
Survival Trumps Thinking
Your brain will avoid thinking in order to conserve energy for its survival instinct.
That’s often why we don’t want to think in conference settings. And it’s why we don’t want to work in education opportunities.
Remember, thinking is work. It uses approximately 30% of our body’s’ resources.
We prefer to just listen to a lecture. Why? Well, it doesn’t require any work or thinking. It’s easy. And we have been conditioned to believe that learning is the byproduct of listening.
We prefer to read about a topic. We prefer to look at the handouts. We prefer to get the shortcut tips. In reality, we prefer not to work for the learning.
Why? We are actually following the biology of our brain: conserve resources in case we get into jeopardy.
Your brain wants to use the body’s energy for fight, flight or freeze. Not thinking.
That’s why so many conference attendees say they just want to be given the secret sauce and don’t want to work for it. Without knowing it, they are letting the brain’s survival instinct trump any real learning.
When Thinking Trumps Survival
Here’s the only want to get the brain to allow the work of thinking to trump its survival character:
Show the brain the value that will be gained from thinking.
That’s why it’s important to help audience’s understand the WIIFM – What’s In It For Me—of a topic or presentation. Then we have to show the brain the benefit of thinking thorough reflection or peer discussion. Because that’s the real key to learning, retention and application.
When the brain sees the benefit of thinking during a presentation, it will engage.
If we want people to learn, if we want people to change attitude, behavior and skills, we should not worry about what motivates them. Instead, we should try to identify what already motivates them.
It’s only when we show the value, benefit and worth of thinking, will it motivate them to truly learn.
What are some ways to help audiences see and believe the benefit of thinking? How do you handle attendees who say, “I don’t want to think. I came to get the information from the expert and I don’t have any ideas right now?”