Can You Focus on Partying?

Do you ever wonder how we are able to key in on a specific conversation at a cocktail party?  Even when there are myriad competing noises from the other conversations, people laughing loudly, kitchen doors swinging, glasses clinking, etc.?

Melinda Beck of the Wall Street Journal looks into this phenomenon of our ability to focus on a task at hand, despite many other influences… and our inability to productively multitask. Here is a cool video on the topic:

I wonder what the implications are to marketers as we think about consumer engagement and the overabundance of sensory inputs we all receive every second of our lives?

The short piece poses a bunch of great questions – below are some of the recommendations for productivity (and safety):

Recognize your limitations. The brain can only fully attend to one thing at a time.

Make your senses work together. If you’re trying to listen to someone in a noisy room, look directly at the speaker.

Focus on what’s important. Many professions—from pilots to police officers—depend on keen powers of observation. Training and practice help. But experts say things like chess and videogames likely won’t expand your overall attention skills.

Allocate blocks of time to specific tasks. Sometimes a deadline can force people to focus.

Avoid distracted driving. Don’t talk on a cellphone, text or give voice commands while at the wheel.