How to Win Your Audience’s Heart in 7 Minutes
March 11, 2015
The average attention span of today’s audience member is short -- 7 minutes to be exact. You either win their hearts in the first few minutes or are forgotten forever.
Don't believe me?
- Attention spans have shrunk by 50% in the last decade
- 9.5% of all children (your future audience) have been diagnosed with ADHD
- The average office worker checks their email 40 times per hour
- Only 9.42% of audiences will watch a video that is 5 minutes or longer
- Only 4% of page views last longer than 10 minutes
These are proof we live in a world built around immediacy and now. The lesson for you: Win your audience early.
How do you do this?
Perfect Your Opening
You need to really think through how you plan to open your next talk. The good news is that there are plenty of options. A few of my favorites are opening with a story, being prospective or retrospective, or asking a rhetorical question.
Don't Be a Poser or Faker
Many of us have been an audience member in addition to a speaker. If you were in the audience, you likely were able to discern if the speaker knew what she was talking about, or whether she was a poser. Find your authentic voice to avoid being that guy or gal. Your audience wants to experience you, not a fake version of yourself. By accomplishing this task, you'll start and end strong.
Change Your Language
Your presentation is not about you, it's about them. So, change your language. Use "you" and "we" more often in the very beginning. Would you rather here a talk that starts with "This is my agenda today," or instead, "Why this Matters to You"? Make it about the audience.
Make sure to take advantage of those seven minutes.
Scott Schwertly is the author of How to Be a Presentation God and CEO of Ethos3, a Nashville, TN-based presentation boutique providing professional presentation design and training for national and international clients ranging from Fortune 500 companies to branded individuals like Guy Kawasaki. If Scott is not working with his team building presentations, you will find him in the pool, on the bike, or on a long run. Scott lives in Nashville, TN with his wife and three dogs. He has a B.A. and M.B.A. from Harding University.