January 3rd, 2017
It seems like every other week I read an article bemoaning the ever-declining length of the human attention span, which apparently is down to 4½ seconds. (Which means you’re no longer even reading this.)
Here’s the thing though: I’ve never been able to find a legitimate study that scientifically documents this supposed decline.
And in fact, there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary: Movie audiences will happily sit in a darkened theater ( or “theatre” in Europe) for up to three hours at a time. People routinely binge watch ten or twelve straight hours of television via Hulu or Netflix. And every new “Harry Potter” book caused millions of kids to worry their parents by refusing to come down to dinner because they were too busy reading.
The problem isn’t that we have shorter attention spans than ever before, it’s that we have a lower tolerance for being bored.
Which means if people aren’t reading your articles, listening to your sales presentations or watching your videos, it’s not because people don’t have sufficient attention spans, it’s because your stuff sucks.
The reality is, if your stuff is awesome, people will pay attention to it.
So how do you make your stuff awesome?
Know your audience
Define your ideal client: age, sex, job title, industry, location, marital status, income, etc. Write or record specifically for them.
Focus on what they care about
Nobody cares about you. Everybody cares about themselves. So talking about your company, product or service is boring. Talking about your prospects’ wants, needs, problems, goals, fears and dreams is engaging.
If you’re not a naturally gifted writer or charismatic presenter, you’re not doomed to bore people forever. Just get the help you need to come across better, whether that means an editor, a presentation coach, a professional writer, a graphic designer, a spokesperson, or someone else who can help you shine.
The attention of prospective buyers is one of the most valuable commodities for any business or salesperson. And because the competition for that attention is more intense than ever before, people can be choosier about where they devote it.
But they will devote it, if they’re interested enough. Short attention spans aren’t the problem—the quality of your content is. Make your stuff more compelling and you’ll get more attention. And more sales.