At the end of a Breaking Through the Noise keynote talk recently, a man came up to the podium and asked a critical question. How could he convince his boss that his company’s sales presentations have to be faster, crisper and straight to the point?
All of our clients are crazy busy, he said. “We don’t have time to tell them all about the history of our company or its founders. If they don’t hear something that impacts them right away, they’ll start reading their emails or texting.”
He’s so right, of course.
In the past few years, I’ve given talks to thousands of people from Utah to Ukraine. And I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) that whether your audience is made up of conference attendees, potential clients or even your own colleagues, it’s tough to get their attention. And it’s getting tougher every day.
Last year, professionals had on average an attention span of nine seconds. Now it’s dropped to eight. Eight seconds. That doesn’t mean people won’t tune in longer. But it does mean they will make a snap decision about whether your presentation is worth their time.
So in this post – the first in a series of five, I’ll unpack our Five Fast Fixes – key ways to dramatically improve your presentations, wow your audiences and get your message across.
First, the good news: Yes, attention spans are short, but in the presentation world, the bar is often really low. So even making one or two of these fixes will make a big difference. As a presenter, you’ll feel great, and your audience will feel grateful.
Fast Fix #1: Structure your talk (like a journalist would)
It sounds simple, but it takes some real thought to structure your presentation in a way that both piques curiosity and maps out where you’re headed.
Continue reading the full post here.
In the next blog post, I’ll talk about Fast Fix #2—and the biggest mistake we see in presentations today.
Get a sneak peek at all five Fast Fixes, featured in the current issue of Columbus CEO magazine.
Or, learn more about our popular keynote talks, where we cover topics like:
- Five Fast Fixes for Powerful Presentations
- The Three Curses Standing Between You and Your Audience
- The New Realities: The Three Shifts Today’s Business Leaders Can’t Afford to Ignore