Attention Span

January 4, 2010

An audience’s level of attention varies as you go through a presentation.  Typically, it is high at the start and high when they realise you are coming to an end and lower in the middle.

It is amazing the effect the words “In summary” have on an audience, everyone who has been drifting off suddenly starts to pay attention because they think that by listening to the summary they will catch up on the essence of everything they have missed.

Allowing the audience is to get ahead of you by letting them anticipate what you are about to say next, will see the attention level dive. 

While it is almost impossible to keep the whole audience hanging on every single word you say, you can improve their attention rating by breaking the presentation up into separate pieces.  Each piece having a start, a middle and an end.  This has the effect of making a single presentation a series of mini presentations so the level of attention is raised at the start of each piece and at the end of each piece.  Overall, the result is a much higher level of attention.

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