The biggest learning challenge is not to get people to speak. Often it's getting them to be silent. And, to do it at the right moment.
Organizations can breed a "you must know everything or else you know nothing" mentality and culture. The result? People show up with reams of data, slides, and the business story equivalent of War and Peace.
Yet engagement, by definition, is a joint activity. Trying to dazzle your audience with everything you know disengages them, makes you the center of attention, and makes you responsible for everything that happens (or doesn't).
The Zeigarnik effect states that people remember uncompleted or interrupted tasks better than completed ones.
This rather simple principle can help anyone who wants to communicate and engage more effectively. The next time you plan your presentation or speech, lay out the facts and then ask (sometimes rhetorically),
"What would you do next?
"We're going to take a 5 minute break and I'll show you how we plan to deal with _______."
TV shows do it all the time, which is why "Continued Next Week" drives us to schedule our time differently or double-check the TIVO. They know about the Zeigarnik Effect. And they know it keeps us engaged.
Bump up engagement and find a way to "Zeigarnik" your training, presentations, or meeting breaks.
Speaking of Engagement: Join me tomorrow, May 12, at 1 pm Eastern Time and learn more about the link between Employee Engagement and Performance Management. The free webinar sign-up is at HR.COM. Kudos to sponsor Halogen Software.