The average attention span isn’t long. Some estimates put it at eight seconds; others say 40 minutes. No matter which is correct, the bottom line is simple: Keeping an audience engaged is paramount to your meeting’s success. So while you’re planning sessions and workshops, think about how to mix up the day.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
Get Moving - Movement keeps the blood flowing and the brain working. And we aren’t talking about moving from one meeting room to another. What if a presentation stops mid-session and won’t start again until everyone changes seats? What if a whole session was done standing? One little change can turn a whole meeting on its head and keep everyone’s attention.
Break the presentation paradigm…again – As TED Talks gained popularity, so did their minimalist presentation style. Gone were the Powerpoints with 100 slides packed full of small, unreadable words. It was refreshing to say the least, but now that everyone has become used to short, digestible slides, they’re fading into the background too. So cause another disruption. Hold presentations without slides. Ensure every minute is engaging by using a real-time polling app to pepper the audience with questions. Bring five attendees on stage impromptu and have them discuss the subject they came to learn about, thereby showing that together, they already know quite a bit. Whatever you do, make sure everyone leaves thinking, “I’ve never seen anything like that.”
Don’t speak their language – Every industry has a set of jargon. In the best of times, it helps accelerate communication. However, these buzzwords often devolve into meaningless fluff when overused. So make a list of banned jargon. By forcing people to use new words to communicate, they may find new ways to work.
Meetings hinge on the audience’s attention. You never want an attendee to leave without an impactful, sharable experience. So any time you are planning on repeating what worked last time, try to think of a way to improve it this time. You just might start a trend (which will have to be disrupted once it becomes the standard and starts to lose attention.)
Created on: Tue 05 August 2014