Move with a Purpose

Each time you change locations in the room, you should do so for a reason. Continuous walking from one point to another can appear as nervousness, whereas planned movement can actually aid facilitation. Experienced trainers have known for years that you can control your audience and the quality and amount of discussion by moving closer or farther from participants throughout a session. For example, if you want to emphasize a point or engage a specific individual in your group, you might casually move forward toward the person as you continue to talk. Or, if you have two participants who have lost focus and are having a side conversation, you can often stop the discussion without having to say a word. Simply by closing the distance, making eye contact with the learners involved, and continuing to speak, you nonverbally say, "I'm talking to you," or "This is important, pay attention."

From a learning standpoint, consider that for the brain to maximize potential, it needs a continual stream of new information or input. If you stand in one place, the brain becomes bored. This accounts for refocused attention on the part of many participants. They then look elsewhere—doodle, work on or read other material, or start mentally processing material outside of the program content (daydream)—when you are stagnant or do not visually and mentally stimulate them.

As you read in earlier chapters, the brain processes information actively as it memorizes it. As part of that effort, a participant's eyes will typically move to a known area. Many researchers believe that there are at least six basic eye "thinking" positions (see Figure 9-3). Law enforcement professionals and others who interrogate and interview for a living have attempted to use this knowledge to gauge whether a person is being truthful. Unfortunately, an experienced liar or someone with certain psychiatric conditions can easily deceive and modify his or her behavior.

You can also use this research as an additional tool for helping determine participant understanding and brain activity. However, like any other element of human nature, this is only a general guide because each person differs in ability and brain functioning.

FIGURE 9-3. Eye Positions (for most right-handed learners; reverse for most left-handed learners)

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