I was a big fan of blah-blah.
A fan of a squillion slides.
What I wasn't, was a big fan of the workshop break times.
My wife, Renuka, ensured that I became one.
At first, I'd give breaks, but they often weren't breaks
I'd see the world through my eyes: that is, folks wanting to learn, talk, discuss etc. The reality is different for many reasons.
Reason 1: Information is tiring.
Reason 2: Sitting down is tiring (and boring).
Reason 3: Introverts need “clear recharge time”.
Reason 1: Information is tiring
When I conducted The Brain Audit workshop, be aware that everyone in the room, had read The Brain Audit at least thrice. Many had implemented it many times over. It didn't matter. When we take a concept like The Brain Audit to another level, the brain still goes into overdrive. It still heats up like crazy, because not only is it trying to work out the “new” concept, but it's also trying to work out the practical applications of what's being taught.
The attendee (even the one familiar with the work) is mentally working out what they got right, where they went wrong etc. And this is for someone who's familiar with The Brain Audit and at The Brain Audit workshop.
Now imagine a person who's never read the book, never tried to implement the concepts before. This person's brain circuits are on fire (and not in a good way). Until a certain point, the person will be completely with you. Then you'll hit something slightly “difficult” and their brain will hit a pause button.
It will be stuck at that point trying to resolve the issue, while you move ahead with newer and possibly “more difficult concepts”. This completely frazzles the brain, and if you look at attendees at the end of a day, their eyes are glazed, their faces are flushed. This is because they haven't had enough learn/process/talk time. The more the person is a “newbie”, the more time they need to process/talk through the concepts and at least get a slight hold on it.
Of course, there's an even better reason for breaks. It's called “sitting down”.
Reason 2: Sitting down is tiring and boring
It is. Try it for yourself. Sit down for just 20 minutes in a chair without anything happening, and you'll get super-restless. Even if you're trying to meditate, a million thoughts cross your mind. There's no magic trick here. The less you get your audience to sit down, the better off they'll be. Numb bums=numb brains.
But there's also the issue about introverts…
Reason 3: Introverts are from a different planet
I don't keep to myself much (except when I'm reading or painting). I will wake up at a conference, do my presentation rehearsal a million times and then head down for breakfast hoping to find someone to meet. I will find someone in the breaks. I will want to go to dinner and stay out until 2am. That's what charges me up.
If you're reading this, you're probably an introvert (most Psychotactics clients are). And that means I've had to learn how to give them “recharge time”. No assignments between breaks, no chatting, just clear down time where they can go to their hotel room and look at a wall, if they need to do so.
Our workshops are fun, they're very relaxed, there's a huge safe zone in place, but this one thing was a gap: my understanding of recharge time. Factor in recharge time right through the day. It's important.
But surely people come to workshops to make use of every possible minute
Yes they do. But remember school? Even those of us who loved school looked forward to the breaks. The breaks were exciting because they gave us release.
The school kid in us hasn't changed that much. As adults we look forward to our coffee breaks, our vacation, our downtime. As much as an attendee will tell you that they're there to learn, learn, learn, you'll soon figure out that the best learning happens when everyone gets a break.
There will be some “grumblers” of course and the way to head off the grumbling at the pass, is to make the concept of breaks a big deal right at the start. Tell them why and how you're going to do it, and you'll get rid of the objection before it rears its head.
I never did give many breaks
Now I do.
And if I don't, there's Renuka at the back of the room, making hand signals.
The blah stops.
Silence fills the room at first.
Then there's a silent cheer, laughing, giggling and talking as the audience takes time to enjoy their break!
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