I’m not a doctor but you, my dear reader, suffer from ADD – attention deficient disorder. Yes you. No I don’t know you but diagnosis is as predictable and precise as any law of physics. Indeed, we all have the problem to varying degrees.
We live in a crazy-busy, short-cut society overwhelmed with information overload. We seek instant gratification. This coupled with others vying for our attention results in an exponential information dump that has morphed us into self-absorbed, confused creatures wasting time with a multitude of factoids and gadgets. We are disconnected from each other and from usable knowledge. We interrupt and ramble when others just want us to listen. We overuse tech tools and waste time. We become defensive, fault-finders who jump to conclusions and responding too quickly to what we see rather than what we truly hear. We act as super-saturated robotic, distracted, and rushed facsimiles of ourselves. We’d rather text than phone. We’d rather email than visit. We talk more but do less.
Do you like ‘quickies’? Come now, don’t try to hijack my message. Focus on what I have to say. There is a simple rule—the Rule of 3—that can help you get attention, help you re-connect, and help you relay your desired objective in a persuasive manner. The rule is based on Aristotle’s three-part drama construction: beginning, middle, and end.
In the beginning, you must connect. Hook your audience in an attention-grabbing manner. If folks are connected, they are ready to participate, contribute, and make decisions. You must engage others to overcome their cultural ADD. In the middle, you must convey your message in a succinct and precise fashion. You have to cut to the essence of the information you want to disseminate to transmit knowledge of value to your target. In a world infused with Internet knowledge, you have to become an I.M. agent (information management). At the end, you must convince. You must transfer ideas so others can understand their purpose, be able to apply them in differing circumstances, and add value to their skill set.
This Rule of 3—connect, convey, convince—has universal applicability. It is not just an education tip and tactic.
Have you noticed that I applied the Rule of 3 in crafting the above message? In paragraph 1, I ‘hook’ your attention. In paragraph 2, I convey the current reality, and in paragraph 3, I attempt to convince that there is a better way.
The Rule of 3 has implications for instructors and students. Give thought to some sample questions:
- What must I do be become masterful and high performing?
- How do I engage myself and others?
- How do I transform a mountain of information into useable, take-away knowledge?
- How do we speak less but do more?
- How do we help students take ownership of learning?
- How do we engage dialogue and brainstorming?
There are many more questions I could posit, some of which deal with process. For example, beginning a session with housekeeping rules, isn’t that a breach of Rule 1? Get thinking and as Roy Rogers would say, “Happy Trails.”