Audiences have become so distracted that keeping their attention has become more challenging than ever.
Hollywood comedy writers now find that to hold their audience’s attention they need to provide a new punch line or gag every fourteen seconds. A study by the institute of psychiatry in London found that participants who were interrupted with emails performed worse on IQ tests than participants who were under the influence of marijuana. (Abela 2013, p. 2)
Here are three things we can do:
- Only focus on a problem your audience has that you can help solve.
- Don’t have a presentation if everyone knows and agrees on the answer to a problem. Send out an email with suggested next steps instead.
- If you have really interesting information that you want to share, but it doesn’t help the audience, put it in an appendix, on a shared drive or email it out before hand. Or just leave it out all together.
If we can focus only on the specific needs of the audience, then we are more likely to hold their attention.
Abela, AV 2013, Advanced presentations by design : creating communication that drives action, 2ndedn., Pfeiffer, San Francisco.