Welcome to Change Your Mindset (formerly known as Improv Is No Joke) where it is all about believing that strong communication skills are the best way in delivering your technical accounting knowledge and growing your business. The way of building stronger communication skills is by embracing the principles of applied improvisation. Your host is Peter Margaritis, CPA a.k.a. The Accidental Accountant, will interview financial professionals and business leaders to find their secret in building stronger relationships with their clients, customers, associates, and peers, all the while, growing their businesses.
Ep. 76 – Dr. David Brobeck: How FUN Increases Engagement & Retention
Dr. David Brobeck (AKA The Problem-Solving Professor) is a professional speaker and a professor of graduate education at Walsh University. His current academic focus is researching various means to enhancing teaching and learning based on neuroscience. Regardless of the endeavor, David believes learning should be fun – and I agree!
In this interview, Dr. Brobeck shares tips and techniques we can use to make learning fun in order to increase the audience member retention rate, whether we’re presenting, teaching, at work, or at home.
Dr. Brobeck starts every presentation with a slide saying, “If you’re not a fun person, you may hate the session.” He then goes on to explain that, even if you’re not fun, you might want to fake it because the brain can’t tell the difference – and we know people learn more and retain more when there is humor involved.
If you look at the traditional lecture style of speaking, there’s no engagement. It’s just boring data. It’s just not connecting with them, and it creates boredom.
This positive or negative reaction to stimuli, whether genuine or faked, is controlled by our body’s limbic system. Amy Cuddy, a professor at Harvard and TEDTalk presenter, talks about how this system releases endorphins and cortisol into our brain, and how that affects retention.
Laughter releases endorphins, and we learn more when we have endorphins being released in our brain. Conversely, cortisol is released when we need to protect ourselves. So a stressful or boring classroom can actually cause the brain to start to protect itself, and then you don’t learn as much.
You also need to let the brain shift tasks occasionally, if you want it to process and retain information. Dr. Brobeck implements a simple tool called the QRST method:
- Question – The presenter / teacher / boss poses a question related to the information they are presenting.
- Reflect – The audience is asked to reflect on this question for 10-30 seconds.
- Share – They are then asked to pair up and share their thoughts on the question with another person. After 30 seconds, the presenter gets everyone’s attention and tells everyone to switch so the second person can also share their thoughts for 30 seconds.
- Team – After everyone shares their thoughts with someone else, the presenter asks people to share what their partner told them.
Another powerful and fun presentation tool is storytelling. When people hear a good story, they equate it to their own life – and they climb inside that story with the storyteller, and they start to live with that person. So we remember experiences better when we feel like we’ve had them, and some stories are so powerful that we never forget them.
- Learn more about Dr. Brobeck: nsaohio.com/members/name/david-brobeck/
- Watch Amy Cuddy’s TEDTalk: Your body language may shape who you are
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