Posted October 13, 2021 by Mark Perna
Episode Title: Three Kinds of Attention
There are three kinds of attention, but young people today will only accept two of them. Here’s why, coming up next on The Perna Syndicate.
Ep 308 show:
You’re now in The Perna Syndicate—welcome! As we work with young people in educational and career settings, it’s helpful to know there are only three kinds of attention we can pay them. They are positive attention, negative attention, and no attention.
As digital natives, the younger generations have grown up with a device in their hand. All of us want and need attention from others, but the dopamine effect of social media has increased young people’s need to be noticed and appreciated.
However you feel about this fact, we need to recognize it if we’re going to communicate effectively with young people. They crave positive attention. If they can’t get that, they’ll settle for negative attention. Under no circumstances will they accept no attention; it’s simply not an option.
If they fail to get attention at home, many young people bring that unmet need to school, where they will act out in order to be noticed. Although it’s negative attention, it is, after all, attention.
Attention makes us feel important. It means another person is focusing all their energy and thought on us, that we matter to them, that we are worth their time. That’s why positive attention is so crucial to a young person’s success. When they know they are noticed, valued, and respected, it meets their attention need and frees them to focus on other things—like what they’re learning.
Giving more positive attention will lead to more positive results. Being noticed and commended is a powerful motivator to increase young people’s performance.
On tomorrow’s episode, what matters more—where you start or where you end up? We’ll discuss this question on the next episode of The Perna Syndicate. See you then!