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Can You See Me Now? OR The 800 Pound Gorilla

Don’t you see it? It’s right there. Have you ever asked (or been asked) that question? Even when something is right in front of us, we may not see it. I call it the bird watching syndrome. I love birds and have been an avid backyard bird watcher for years. I thought I knew my birds (cardinals, blue jays, robins, the usual suspects) until I went on my first bird watching expedition. When my fellow birders said, see the cedar waxwings in the tree over there? Uhhh…no, I don’t see them.

My favorite example of this is from research done by two psychologists. I’ve used their video as an ice breaker and it is lots of fun. You can see the YouTube video (1 min 21 seconds) here or view it below. In addition to a few laughs, one of the things the video demonstrates is that even though something is right in front of us, we may not see it.

How can we use this information in training? Whether the training is in-person or via the Internet keep in mind that we (people) don’t see the world the same as each other. Consider using visual and verbal cues to draw people’s attention to a particular place on a web page, and then wait a moment…linger long enough to make sure that people are with you. The pace may feel a little slow to the trainer (and to those students who are familiar with what you are demonstrating), but it should help keep everyone together.