Studies vary on the length of our attention spans, but one study recently concluded that the average attention span is eight seconds. Whatever the actual time might be, people have trouble paying attention, especially when listening to a speaker. Inattention is even more likely if it’s a technically-oriented presentation.
Recently, in coaching several insurance executives in presentation skills, I was reminded of this challenge for every speaker. You know the audience is going to leave you several times in a 30-minute presentation. In essence, one of the major goals of the speaker is to bring the audience member back to pay attention to his or her speech. No matter how effective the message is, the human mind cannot focus for very long. Here are some ways of combating that consistent challenge.
Even the most effective speaker will lose his or her audience occasionally. These techniques, however, will at least make it less likely for the audience member to leave you for the duration.