I read some terrible news this week. Our attention spans are now shorter than the attention span of a goldfish!
Please say it isn’t true! Microsoft just completed a landmark study that determined a human’s attention span on average is 8 seconds. A goldfish, on average, has an attention span of 9 seconds. The study points out our ability to concentrate has been in a serious decline the last 10 years. I am not surprised. Our digital lifestyles are seriously affecting our ability to focus on any tasks.
All leaders need to know their directives are being received. If you need people to really hear a message you are trying to communicate, here are a couple of ideas that will help.
Use compelling visuals. We live in a post literate world. People know how to read, they just don’t take the time to read. Words spoken become a low level hum in your listeners ears after a few minutes. Using a visual can often be the difference in your message being received or lost. Recently, a good friend of mine was teaching a group of people about the benefit of walking through dark seasons. He closed his talk by planting a seed into a pot of soil. His brief explanation about the seed and its growth, coupled with the visual locked it in my mind forever. It will work for you too if you take time and choose great visuals to communicate your message.
Simplify for share-ability sake. Communicating complex ideas in a paragraph is good. It is even better when you can say it in a sentence. I can write an essay on the importance of exercise for a positive mental outlook. You won’t remember any of it. But I can say, “Move a muscle and change a mood,” and you won’t forget it. Why? Because it is simple and is easily shared. Our important communication needs to become more thought out and compressed if we want our tribe to remember what we have said.
How we did it in the 1980’s won’t get it done in 2016. We need to realize digital lifestyles are making focus a thing of the past. That’s ok. We can adjust. We still need to get our message across. We simply need to be a little more intentional in how we do it.
Living the Big Life.