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Attention Crisis – Best communication antidotes to get heard above the noise

by | Nov 28, 2023

I planned to write this blog an hour ago. But Cyber Monday got in the way. I’m distracted by a great deal!

Welcome to your world.

Did you know that your attention span now trades on the open market?

Graham Burnett, Alyssa Loh and Peter Schmidt write in the New York Times,

“Increasingly powerful systems seek to ensure that our attention is never truly ours… We are witnessing the dark side of our new technological lives … Vast quantities of high-pressure media content are pumped into our faces.”

You know this because you too are distracted by emails, breaking news and discounts.

This guest opinion NYT essay goes on to share, “You are lucky these days to get 47 seconds of focused attention on a discrete task.”

How do you get heard above the noise when you only have 47 seconds?

  • Be unique from the get go. Do not begin a meeting, presentation or even a Linked In post with generic pleasantries. Start with a startling statement, a story, a quote, or a solution to a problem targeted to your listeners.
  • Tell good stories – in a speech, at your holiday party table, or in the hallways at your next conference.
  • Schedule carefully. Place your presentation mid-morning if possible. Caffeine has been injected and your digital life is under control.
  • Insert breaks – if you’re talking for more than 90 minutes.
  • Mix it up. If you’re giving a presentation of any length keep your content moving and include your audience in nonthreatening ways.
  • Be organized. Tangents will kill you.
  • Use humor. Carefully. I’m not a fan of jokes because you might alienate others. Use self-deprecating humor. One time my computer blew up. Another time someone stole it. Painful then, funny now … and lessons abound. (Always bring a backup and put your info/ppt in the cloud.)
  • Bribe often! I always throw snickers into the group to bring home the point that we need to snicker/chuckle more. Take your work seriously, take yourself a little less seriously.

Catching a small piece of chocolate – perfect attention crisis antidote!

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