How to Connect in an Over-Distracted World (And Other Lessons from Leaders in Human Behavior)

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Leaders face a mounting challenge in today’s increasingly technological world. People have a host of distracting devices now available at their fingertips. According to research compiled by the HFTP Americas Research Center, Americans check their phone on average once every 12 minutes. Conversations are consistently interrupted by cell phone pings or instant email alerts. Are we collectively too over-distracted? And how do you, as a leader, compete for the attention of the average distracted employee?

HFTP recruited two experts in the field of human behavior to answer these questions (and more) at the 2018 Annual Convention, taking place October 24-26, 2018 at the Omni Louisville Hotel in Louisville, Kentucky USA. Curt Steinhorst and Colette Carlson will tackle the issues of distraction and disconnection in the modern workplace, present effective solutions to overcome these issues, and explore the role that human connection plays in true leadership success.


Are we really “over-distracted”? Most of us would answer yes, but here’s a surprising truth: We don’t actually know what distraction is. It turns out distraction is hard to define concretely, and even harder to identify reliably.

DING! Your phone just buzzed. Here’s the question: Is checking that notification a distraction?

Answer? No idea.

That’s not a cop-out. We simply can’t know, because this scenario lacks two important pieces of context: What does the message say? and What is important to you in this moment?

Even those questions belie a simplicity that doesn’t exist. Just because a notification is on-topic doesn’t guarantee that it will improve productivity — a “check in” email from your boss only slows you down. And keeping track of what’s important in a given moment is similarly nebulous — a text about a family member in the hospital is likely important to you, no matter the project.

The point is: If we want to be “less distracted” and “more productive,” and do better “attention management,” we have work to do. First, we should define our terms. Second, we must understand the limitations of our attention. And third, we need a better system to determine what matters most.

Most importantly, as we’ll discuss in detail during my keynote presentation: we must do this work together.

Don’t Miss Curt Steinhorst’s Opening Keynote Presentation,
Can I Have Your Attention? Focus Your Team in the Distracted Workplace
at the HFTP 2018 Annual Convention
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
5:30 – 6:45 p.m.

About Can I Have Your Attention? Focus Your Team in the Distracted Workplace: For the first time in history, we live in a world with no barriers to connection or communication. This has fundamentally altered the way we work, engage and relate to one another. The same technology that simplifies processes also compromises our focus, making it ever more difficult to reach increasingly distracted customers. In this intensely practical and informative speech, Curt Steinhorst discusses the great challenges we face in a constantly connected world. He pulls back the curtain to reveal: How did we get here? How deep does the distraction issue go? And, where do we go from here?

About Curt Steinhorst: Steinhorst is the bestselling author of Can I Have Your Attention? Inspiring Better Work Habits, Focusing Your Team, and Getting Stuff Done in the Constantly Connected Workplace. After years studying the impact of tech on human behavior, Steinhorst founded Focuswise, a consultancy that equips organizations to overcome the distinct challenges of the constantly-connected workplace.



At the heart of every sale, every interaction between a leader and a team member, every conversation with a customer… is a connection. And yet, in our competitive world filled with a global workforce, numerous communication channels and daily digital distractions, communicating effectively while maintaining respectful, human connection has never been more challenging. My presentation will support you in building these deeper, critical relationships with the teams you lead and support.

In her recent article “3 Investments You Must Make to Stay Connected,” Colette Carlson encourages you to make the “conference connection:”

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