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Can I Have Your Attention, Please …

Back in April, GMA correspondent, Will Reeves was caught with his pants down.  Well, not down, but completely not on.  I was reminded of this and had to laugh at myself, because recently I was caught in a similar situation.  Oh, I was wearing pants, but when I had to stand up to retrieve some papers during an online conference I had forgotten that I had a t-shirt draped over my desk chair and it had a message not everyone would find appropriate or humorous.  This got the attention of everyone online, in a way I wasn’t really interested in, nor intended to convey. 

Experts in online presentations have said that you need to engage with your audience every four minutes to hold their attention.  This is more often than during a live presentation, mostly due to the distracting nature of an audience not being captive in the room with you.  It’s so easy to put yourself on mute (or maybe the presenter already has muted the whole audience) and type another email or read an incoming message while you’re supposed to be listening and absorbing. 

According to Microsoft research, a goldfish has a longer attention span than humans these days.  The average person’s attention span is eight seconds.  The attention span of a goldfish was 9 seconds! 

This means it’s more important than ever to get and keep the audiences’ attention.  We’re all getting used to the new normal of presenting from home.  The meetings that could have been emails, and were, when this all started, are now becoming meetings again, just online.  These types of distractions shouldn’t be happening anymore, as our new normal is online and has been for nearly 5 months.  The cost savings of not attending live meetings/conferences will hopefully be a plus for most of us.

I’m sure Will Reeves and I will not make the same mistake, twice.  If we do, let’s go for the humor, finding more to laugh about can only be positive!


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