Listening in on cell conversations disconnects your concentration

cellphone conversationI was scheduled to give a BIG presentation at a conference – feeling very nervous, I decided I needed to run through the presentation one last time, to be sure I knew my stuff.

So I looked around for a quiet spot, turned on the laptop and began flicking through the powerpoint slide show, mentally rehearsing the content that matched each slide. Half way through, I was joined by a women who began sorting through her voice mail messages on her cell phone.

And then the torment began – she began yapping on the mobile phone.

To say the very least, I nearly went NUTS, as panic levels set in.

Half a conversation is a no brainer

I really did not want to listen in on her conversations, but no matter how hard I tried to rehearse my speech, all I ended up doing was listening to her conversation.

And it was an exceedingly boring business conversation, about shipping samples and meeting deadlines.

The clock was ticking on my presentation. I really didn’t care about the goings on in her office, so why the hell was I following every word she uttered ?

You’re not just being nosy

Researchers at Cornell University were able to provide an answer for this annoying aspect of modern living.

In their research they have been able to demonstrate that the overwhelming NEED to eavesdrop, is not because you are being nosy – your brain is genuinely in distress, because it is only getting half the conversation.

Your ability to concentrate and get something done, would actually be much better, if you were able to hear both sides of the conversation.

Half a conversation lacks predictability

No one knows for sure why the brain is unhappy, but the researchers speculate that what is causing the distress, is the lack of predictability.

When we hear both sides of a conversation, things flow predictably, but as soon as we only get half the conversation, it loses its predictability, setting the brain scrambling to make sense of it.

Cell phone etiquette

Based on this study maybe it is time to rethink your cell phone etiquette.

Be a little more sensitive about talking on the phone in public. Your conversation is having a profound effect on the thinking abilities of the people around you, and it’s not because they’re eavesdropping or they’re bad people – their brain is “forcing” them to listen.

If you need to think, avoid cell phone addicts

Finally, if you really do need to think, then think carefully when choosing your thinking spot.

Rather opt for roaring traffic in the background, than a loan cell phone babbler mouth. The traffic noise long term, may pose a health risk, but short term you’ll be better able to keep your focus. 

To wire up your brain a little each week ………………..

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Did you learn something new or do you have a different perspective ? I’d love to hear from you so post me a comment below…..

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