August 5, 2019
By Terry Dear
WITI OC held a June networking event entitled "Mix & Mingle - Experience Diffuse Awareness." Networking events are intimidating if you do not know anyone in attendance and you are an introvert. To ease the burden of engaging in a conversation, WITI OC handed out conversation starter cards explaining 'Diffuse Awareness' (see image below).
While the event was advertised as a networking event, the number one topic of conversation was, "Are we going to have a speaker to learn about diffuse awareness?" So... what is diffuse awareness and why is it important?
Diffuse awareness describes how a person comprehends the world around them. It is normally categorized as a women's trait. For example, a mother can be engaged in conversation with a group of women, when all of sudden she yells, "Johnny, do not climb that tree." Johnny will swear his mother has eyes in the back of her head. Women are generally very good multi-taskers tackling work deadlines, errands, housework, kids, meals, etc.
The opposite of diffuse awareness is "single focus." Single focus is normally used to describe a man's behavior. For example, a husband comes home and sits down to watch football on TV. He is not aware of Johnny drawing on the wall with crayons or his wife asking him questions. The husband has tunnel vision focusing exclusively on the football game. He is a man on a mission to follow every play.
Diffuse awareness and single focus can be found in either men or women. Your type of occupation will also guide you in developing your skill traits. For example, crowd control staff are trained in crowd control/situation awareness or diffuse awareness, the ability to notice EVERYTHING. A brain surgeon is trained to be single focus to perform a craniectomy.
As the book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus tries to describe how individuals react and handle relationship communications, understanding your peers' or boss' traits are part of understanding how to communicate effectively. A person with diffuse awareness may not be staring you in the eyes but may be hearing you just fine. A person who is single focus will be committed to the plan and perhaps constantly asking for updates throughout the day.
At a networking event, do you experience diffuse awareness, scanning the room and constantly taking in EVERYTHING. while trying to network with as many people as possible?
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