An Exercise in Distraction - March 2010 Newsletter

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An Exercise in Distraction - March 2010 Newsletter

Welcome to our new readers.  In this edition of the Lamplighter e-newsletter . . .


An Exercise in Distraction – Media140 Conference

Know Thyself Part II – How You Can Use Profiling To Your Benefit

Speed Networking Event – Family Business Australia Next Gen

Authentic Speaking® dates


An Exercise in Distraction – Media140 Conference 

On February 25, I had the pleasure of attending the all-day Media140 Conference in Perth, organised by Via Appia Networking and catering to over 300 Perth professionals.  This globally roaming conference is drawing on top professionals and thought leaders in social media and marketing from around the world.  It was a great day and Via Appia did a wonderful job, where I also met many very “switched on” people.

But this day was an interesting experiment in distraction.  At least half of the audience were “tweeting” to a Twitter account set up for the conference all day.  Behind the speakers and panellists a massive projection screen displayed the live twitter feed, while the speakers were talking.  Audience members made “tweets” commenting on the speakers, making jokes, holding discussions and suggesting random acts of disruption throughout the day.  This was an exercise in distraction at its best.

Numerous times throughout the day, the audience lost the thread of speakers’ comments as we read (sometimes very clever) comments on the live tweet.  Numerous times, the audience laughed as panellists were talking, causing the panellist to wonder what they had said that was humorous.  They then looked behind them at the screen: “Oh, it’s a tweet!”

Now, this live tweet did also allow some interesting forms of immediate feedback to speakers.  Some of the quicker ones were able to scan comments on the screen and respond.  But how much more did this add than would have a focussed question and answer period?

One thing this experiment did remind me of is teenagers in classrooms: they are often focussing on something other than the lesson and often something trivial.  They also don’t hear everything that’s said and come away wondering what everything was about.

My recommendation if you run a conference like this: don’t have a live tweet projected behind you, not unless it’s the only thing you’re talking about.  And even then, probably only if you’re happy to have a random, incoherent and rambling discussion.

More importantly, in all of your communications, think about the distractions to your message.  What distractions are going on around you?  How will you overcome them?  You could just get louder, but you probably won’t be heard as much as if you find a novel way of bringing back someone’s attention to what you have to say.

It may be a startling statement, a joke about something happening that focuses back on your message, communicating in such a way that you acknowledge the distractions people may have but encouraging them to focus on your vision.  If you’re speaking, 10 seconds of full silence may do the trick – that shocks the crowd into paying attention to you.  (There are written variations of this, too.)

In the previous newsletter, we linked to an article about the perils of multitasking, but if you want to watch a great documentary about it, go no further than the excellent PBS TV/Web Report: Digital Nation at You can view the full documentary online and it shows how generations of people who THINK they can multitask really can’t.

Know Thyself Part II – How You Can Use Profiling to Your Benefit 

"One thing is abundantly clear when taking a well-constructed and validated personality or aptitude assessment: it can be startlingly accurate. . . .

Something else is also evident: badly constructed assessments can be terribly inaccurate or useless for the intended purposes."

How can you use profiling to your benefit?

Read the full article at

Learn about the benefits of Networking at FBA’s March Speed Networking Event 

I will be speaking on March 18th at a special “Next Gen” speed networking event run by Family Business Australia (WA).  The event will be held from 6-8 pm at the Floreat Hotel, sponsored by Quickmail, KPMG and supported by Lamplighter Performance Consulting.

Young professionals (20s-30s) and young members of family businesses or family business providers are invited.  Speed networking guarantees that you make plenty of face-to-face contacts to expand your reach and develop stronger relationships.  For more information, please visit or go to

Authentic Speaking® dates

During February I had the pleasure of working with some gentleman who made incredible speaking progress in just two hours of our Authentic Speaking® workshop – let alone the whole two days!  The next Authentic Speaking® workshop is scheduled for April 29-30, 2010 at Guildford Landing Function Centre.  To register, please email us for an enrolment form and additional information.  Private coaching is available for those wanting a long-term development plan to achieve outstanding presence, impact and leadership presence.


“The Authentic Speaking course was invaluable to me. . . . I [now] feel I have the skills and knowledge to speak with confidence and engage my audience on a level I never knew existed.”

 – Stephanie Soter, CEO Joblink Karratha.  November 2009 Authentic Speaking® graduate.

Something to Ponder

Never assume!  Or you’ll make an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’.  (Young Frankenstein)



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