That’s our average attention span these days—the amount of time we can focus on one thing without distraction.1
That’s down 50% from the 12-second mark in 2000. And that’s shorter than the 9-second attention span of a goldfish.2
Your Biggest Challenge: Grabbing Attention and Keeping It As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella points out, in today’s distraction-rich business world, “the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention.” 3
Yes, capturing and keeping attention is harder than ever before.
We’re bombarded with information, solicitations, and messaging. The pace of business has sped up, and we're now conditioned to react more quickly to requests for decisions.
Our email boxes are filling up faster than we can empty them. We are more inclined than ever to quickly ignore and discard messages that don’t appear immediately valuable to us.
Yet, in the face of these challenges, too many business professionals fail to grab and keep audience attention.Instead, when they present to colleagues, analysts, executive teams, potential customers, and other decision makers, they:
- Focus too much on the details of their proposals—and not enough on making sure they speak to the motivating needs of their audience.
- Present unfocused, data-heavy PowerPoint slides and then “talk over” those slides—guaranteeing that neither their words nor their slides will be understood.
- Give one-way presentations that ignore the “attention-grabbing” power of a provocative discussion question.
Because of these (and other) common mistakes, even compelling and critical messages fail to overcome distractions.
Just think about how often you see people checking their phones or tablets during meetings and events—sometimes even during the middle of one-on-one conversations!
This failure to grab and keep attention has real costs. Instead of motivating better business decisions faster, weak presentations prompt unnecessary delays, costly revision-rework cycles, indecision, and lost opportunities.
5 Strategies for Grabbing and Keeping AttentionHere’s the bottom line: you’re kidding yourself if you think you’ll get better decisions faster just by just presenting more or better information.
To achieve your goal, you must deliver that information in a way that grabs and keeps the attention of your audience, using strategies such as the following:
1) Capture attention from the start with a striking idea, statistic, story, image, or metaphor.
2) Reduce the amount of information you present, keeping your focus on only the most critical data needed to drive audience interest and motivate the desired action.
3) Identify your audience’s most important care-abouts, and systematically reference them during your presentation.
4) Engage your audience in a two-way dialogue during your presentation, both as a change of pace and as a tactic to keep everyone “on their toes” and focused on your message, rather than their phones.
5) Clarify, simplify, and repeat your “ask”—the decision or action you want your audience to execute.
1 Statistic Brain
3 The New York Times. “The 8-second attention span.” 1/22/2016.
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Recognition. It makes you feel good. This week in the US, many will pause for a day or two to give thanks and show appreciation for the things and people we care about most. It’s no secret how appreciation benefits the person getting it—but did you know it benefits the person giving it just as much?
Discover why recognition is such a powerful tool for improving relationships and wellbeing in life—and at work. Learn how to (and how NOT to) express your appreciation to others.
People in communities across the globe are adjusting to communicating while wearing masks. As we’re all experiencing, masks present both verbal and non-verbal communication challenges.Given this, we’ve prepared 5 tips for effective communications while wearing a mask, and compiled several insightful articles from leading publications on additional best practices.
If your 2020 user conference plans were impacted by the pandemic, you’re not alone. And if, like many, you’ve chosen to move forward by converting to a virtual conference, you’ll be relying more than ever on your speakers’ skills. Share these 8 tips with your virtual conference speakers to help them prepare to impress.
It happened fast. One day you were meeting with your colleagues at the office. The next day you and everyone you work with are working in remote isolation from home. Whether you’re new to working remotely or an experienced veteran, we all need to raise our virtual collaboration game to not only make this new reality work, but to make it work really well. Read on to discover seven practical, high impact tactics you can implement right now to ensure the success of your virtual meetings.
Customers coming to a user conference aren’t there for the fanfare, they’re there for the expertise. If you’re an expert speaking at a user conference, you’re highly knowledgeable and passionate about your topic, but you might not be an expert at speaking in front of an audience. Here are five practical tips that you can implement right away for any upcoming speaking event.
Learn how making a few smart, yet simple, changes to your email can improve your odds of quickly getting the response you need.
Read the blog and learn how to make your next team offsite your most productive yet.
TED Talks have become a go-to example for how to give an engaging presentation from the big stage. They can be informative, inspiring, and often incredibly entertaining. But is the TED Talk format right for a business presentation delivered in a conference room? Probably not — but the skills used by TED Talk presenters definitely are!
Learn how to identify what goes into a successful TED Talk and how to make those skills work for you in your everyday business presentations.
Learn Mandel’s 3-step model for skillfully responding — not reacting — to tough questions with confidence and ease.
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