pb-ISD: Chit Chat

I did a webinar recently, and as is my practice, I pre-arranged for the designated moderator to review the Chat area while I presented, so that when I got to my slides with “Q&A” on them she could summarize the Questions so that I might attempt some Answers.

That’s pretty common nowadays – tag teaming – as it were.

And one of my practices in virtual presentations is the same as in F2F presentations – is to tell the virtually assembled that I have “X” number of Q&A stopping points – so if they have a Question – to put it in the Chat area for the Moderator to track and give to me when I hit those points In the Flow. To manage expectations.

Later, post-session, when I reviewed the Chat conversations from that recent Webinar, I saw that someone had sent me a Private Message, as if they expected me to answer them in the middle of my presentation. In the Flow, as they say.

Talk about Disruptions in L&D!

I don’t do “Chats” when presenting – or even while watching others’ Webinars – as I find it way too distracting – adding to my Cognitive Load. I might at the very beginning or at the end or when asked to by the presenter or moderator. But – otherwise – NO.

I even have learned to tell the audience that I won’t be looking at Chat while I present. Part of my philosophy of Managing Expectations with Clear Communications – early and often.


If I’m presenting I’ll lose my train of thought – and that’s no good.

If I’m watching others present – it distracts me from their message – and that’s no good either.

Yeah – Chat Is Social

But it’s inconducive to Learning for Awareness, Knowledge or Skill.

The last time I had a conversation about this was while doing some Slow Boating and Social Distancing last summer on Lake James NC with Dr. Jane Bozarth and Charles (her Corgi).

Bueller, my Westie, who sometimes accompanies us on our annual day of boating, had the Day Off. ;)

I was doing “Slow Boating” in view of “Shortoff” – the south-western end of the Linville Gorge – because there’s less motor noise and that facilitated our conversation, not always about the biz (L&D), but often.

And we were doing “Social Distancing” because, well, you already know. It was 2020.

Shortoff – BTW – is visible in several scenes in the 1992 movie, “The Last of the Mohicans” as it was the site of the English fort and can be first seen in the night sky as the French cannons pounded the fort, and then in the background again as the movies heroes paddled away in their canoes in daylight.

But I digress.

The Chat Room/Area Offers a Digression – IMO

Your opinion may vary, of course.

I was asking/wondering about the Research about Chat – not at “the designated times” In-the-Flow, but anytime/all-the-time Throughout The Flow.

Does Chat distract anyone writing or reviewing the Chat Flow – and does that distract and inhibit the message being sent from what is both received and processed? Is this Practice of chatting during a presentation an Okay Practice, a Good Practice, or a Not-So-Good Practice?

I was hoping Jane had some research on this or might soon do one of her research reports for The Learning Guild on this.

Not that “Phycology Today” is THE source for research … but …

From Psychology Today: How do we teach focus in a world that is constantly drawing our attention elsewhere? One idea is to use “technology breaks,” where you check your phone, the web, whatever, for a minute or two, and then turn the phone to silent, the computer screen off, and “focus” on work or conversation or any non-technological activity for, say, 15 minutes. Then you take a one to two-minute tech break followed by more focus times and more tech breaks. The trick is to gradually lengthen the focus time to teach yourself (and your kids) how to focus for longer periods of time without being distracted.

Now for a musical distraction…

“That’s that, I don’t wanna chitter-chat”

Elvis Costello… Pump It Up…

I’ve been on tenderhooks, ending in dirty looks
Listening to the Muzak, thinking ’bout this ‘n’ that
She said, “That’s that, I don’t wanna chitter-chat”
Turn it down a little bit or turn it down flat

My practice is to turn the Chat area down flat.


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