Why aren't you paying attention?

I’ve been attending a lot of meetings and conventions of late.

One of the things I couldn’t help but notice is a growing lack of attention by those attending these events - and it’s not because of the subject matter.

It’s because of all those wireless devices that distract attendee attention - from those using these devices and those around them.

Wireless devices have become a common fixture in meetings of all kinds.

Attention is a scarce resource. I would suggest that it is the scarcest resource in many organizations.

Despite what many people believe, the truth is, splitting attention between two tasks is something people simply don’t do well.

“A core limitation [of the brain] is an inability to concentrate on two things at once,” according to René Marois, Ph.D., an associate professor of psychology at Vanderbilt University and head of the school’s the Human Information Processing Laboratory.

Time was, lack-of-attention meeting and convention goers hide newspapers and quietly read them during meetings. Then, newspapers were replaced by wireless devices hidden in laps or under tables so as not to be conspicuous.

Nowadays, apparently, it is acceptable to use any wireless devices out in the open.

For those who feel they must remained “connected” during meetings, I ask you to show some courtesy. Mute your wireless devices or put it on vibrate? There are those of us who want to pay attention and not be distracted by rings, bings, beeps and songs.

How much material are lack-of-attention meeting and convention goers missing or failing to comprehend by not being “in” the meeting? For them, there is surely a loss of ROI from an event.

I have another question: How is it that in the days before wireless devices, company officials could be gone from the office for days to attend meetings and conventions, make sales calls, visit customers, etc., and their companies somehow survived?