We’ve been taught that yawning tells people you are tired or bored and it’s therefore rude if you yawn in front of someone.
I’ve attached the link to this video on youtube showing the response of a college professor in the US to someone yawning in his lecture. Initially I had a bit of a chuckle at his response but a few minutes in I was squirming because of his over reaction! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6buiTtvrft4
Maybe it was a little rude of the unidentified person in the video to yawn but I think the lecturer should accept some responsibility for it happening!
When people yawn it’s generally not because the subject isn’t interesting, or potentially useful, it’s the way it’s being delivered. I know very few people who learn from sitting down and just listening to someone talk at them. And I guarantee anything people learn from events like these will be forgotten in a few days so the likelihood of implementing or changing anything as a result of attending is even more remote.
Yawning is spontaneous, and something few of us can successfully control. No matter how hard we may try to hide it, either behind a hand or some contorted facial expression, people still know they can tell!
Perhaps we should all stop being so sensitive about a yawn. Yawning may not be subtle but it’s a universally understood form of communication. It tells the people around us we’re bored and that they need to do something different.
Instead of ignoring yawns and dismissing them as rude we should really admonish those who fail to respond to the honest feedback they are getting.
If that feels like too big a step an alternative to yawn inducing courses is to make learning activities shorter. Bite size chunks of information delivered in bursts of varied and attention-grabbing activities have a bigger impact and are more easily remembered.
Learning is vital to our individual careers and the success of organisations as a whole but we don’t have the time or the money to spend on training and learning events that aren’t effective. Breaking big subjects in to short, focused topics is more engaging and it means you and your people are more likely to absorb new ideas and apply new skills – that after all is the purpose of learning!
Bite size learning is quick and accessible, relatively inexpensive, and easy to tailor to your organisation. Delivered in person or on-line it caters for a variety of learning styles.
For a great example of leadership development in bite size chunks take a look at the www.connect-4.co.uk evolution program. These monthly breakfast workshops are packed with ideas, practical exercises and include follow up to help you apply what you learn.