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Yes Attention Spans Are Short…But

06 Mar Posted by in Business | 2 comments

As a motivational speaker, I am tasked with keeping the attention of my audience – whose attention spans are short. And so are you. Whatever you do, you’re trying to get someone’s attention too – whether it’s sales, marketing, speaking, or your family. And the world we live in is fast and loud and delivers us information in short bursts. So we have become conditioned to wanting things in short bursts. It is harder now for someone to sit in a seat and just listen for an hour. So I am constantly working to keep their attention in a world of tweeting and hand held devices that people can’t tear their eyes off.


People can still go into a movie or a Broadway show, and not move for two hours. No desire to tweet or even talk to their neighbor. So keeping someone’s attention for more than thirty minutes may be a challenge – but it’s not impossible – it’s just harder now – and requires a different set of skills. You have to work at it, rather than expecting them to hang on.

So today I don’t give you answers, I simply give you a question: What does a movie have that we don’t? Why do movies capture our attention and keep it? And how can we take what we learn and apply it to our own lives? How can we use the same things movies do to keep the attention of our buyer?

I don’t have the right answer. But I do think this is the right question.

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  1. Linda Larsen03-06-12

    GREAT question, Kelly! GREAT one. My first instinctual reponse to what movies do, create, inspire or have…
    1. A compelling STORY
    2. An emotional EXPERIENCE
    3. Uses rich visuals
    4. Lets me look behind the walls into people’s lives
    5. Allows me to escape
    6. Helps me suspend my disbelief
    7. Shows me what’s possible
    8. Puts MY troubles in perspective

    Again, very good question…

  2. kelly03-06-12

    These are good too Linda! And I think the real issue becomes – how do we use our voice, words, gestures, writing, etc., to help the audience suspend disbelief? Interesting question and definitely one worth pondering. Especially for motivational speakers.

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