Ready to make an impression on a room full of people? Remember these four lessons from professional speakers:
1. Just seven seconds
Some folks think the average adult’s attention span is 30 minutes.
Nope, not even close. It’s only seven seconds.
Even though we can quickly refocus on the task at hand, our minds wander onto something else every few seconds.
Strategy: Pause before and after making a key point. Those cues clue your listeners to pay attention.
And give a brief example after a point so the listener creates an image in his or her mind.
Speakers who use examples get better results.
2. ‘What’s in it for me?’
Even the greatest speaker won’t hold your attention very long if the topic doesn’t matter to you.
Tell people up front why what you’re talking about matters and how it will benefit or affect them.
Do this even for required training. You must first know – and believe in – the purpose of your message so that others will buy in.
3. Cut the distractions
You don’t need cell phones going off when running a meeting, even a short one.
Ask listeners to please turn off devices first, in a friendly way.
4. Ask for questions
Don’t always assume people understand all your points. Remember: They’re drifting off every seven seconds or so.
Effective communicators say, “Was that last point clear?” or “Would anyone like more info on something I said?”
Then answer any and all questions.