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Catching the Zoom Ball

Being a stellar, engaged and growth minded participant in digital learning.

Have you ever felt yourself groaning when an invitation to a digital event arrive in your inbox? Oh no, not again! I have felt that way especially if the facilitator has been particularly boring in past session and more concerned about their content than the people present.

If you chose to participate in a digital learning platform, be prepared to be fully present and to be nowhere else. The chat column, emoji's, private chats are all connection points between screen and participant and yet they also are major distractors if miss applied. On a digital platform, we miss eye contact, the elbow jab to the person beside us, the raised eyebrow or the nuances of in the moment response. Those in person responses are ones we used to handling and even using to the benefit of the session. On the digital platform it feels artificial and it can be. And yet when we are fully engaged as a participate we have to work harder at handling our "attention residue(1)". In this setting attention residue is whatever sidetracks our mind from the topic at hand to other features on the screen. We see the chat column move and we are quickly distracted to read what was just entered there. Our eyes shift back to the speaker on line and yet in our mind we are still digesting and interacting with the chat column comment.

A metaphor for attention residue is a paintbrush. A clean paintbrush creates clear and compelling pieces of work. A paintbrush that is not kept clean produces muddy, unappealing results. Keep your brain clean in between topics, tasks, conversations. Do that by focusing on one item at a time, track what stood out as most important to you, in whatever way works best for you, revisit your notes in times of reflection.

Getting caught in the distractions can be a warning signal of resistance to the topic, the speaker, the environment, all of which will in the end inhibit your growth. Although information for knowledge and learning are important the ace is growth. Ask yourself, how will this time spent with this theme, this speaker, these people deepen and increase my personal and or personal growth? What are you going to do with that?

Take the time to reflect on your digital participation and how you can become more fully present to the moment and embrace this opportunity for growth.

What-if Leadership Journal, the intentional pursuit of being, knowing and doing.

The concept of "attention residue" comes from a 2009 paper by Sophie Leroy. Originally it applied to the concept of multi tasking. Cal Newport mentions it in his book Deep Work.

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