Earlier this year, the National Center for Biotechnology Information caused a stir when they released new findings pertaining to people’s average attention spans. When it was measured in 2000, American’s had attention spans clocked in at around 12 seconds on average. A little more than a decade later, with technology and other everyday external stimulation, we’ve collectively seen our attention spans drop down to eight seconds on average. The findings also pointed out that we humans fell under the goldfish’s attention span by a whole second!
As things that catch, and keep, our attention get less and less, organizations need to reconsider how they relay messages to individuals and groups, and utilizing succinct communications to maximize effectiveness. A few months after this study, the Associated Press released new guidelines for their reporters limiting most stories to a length of 300 to 500 words. One of the reasons cited? Longer stories deter readers, especially those using mobile devices, from actually reading the stories – making them far more unlikely to digest all of the significant information within the article.
Speed of transmission is increasingly becoming important for getting your points to resonate with a potential reader. Additionally, messages that are quicker to read are quicker to spread. If your company has a substantive, and complex issue, could it be broken down and condensed into smaller separate “bite-sized” segments that convey only the most essential pieces of information? Can all of the major points within a piece be easily located and identified by the reader? Could components of your message be best conveyed by visuals, such as infographics? Does your message capture interest when it is conveyed in multiple media formats?
Conversa has helped small, medium and large clients pare down messages into smaller, more digestible pieces. While mastering brevity is certainty a challenging notion, this trend of decreased attention spans isn’t likely to go away any time soon.
Of course, if you’re having a hard time paring down your company’s bigger picture into smaller pieces, it certainly couldn’t hurt to bring in someone from the outside to help summarize. Let Conversa help out with our expert analysis and together we can find what could be the most viral components of your company’s agenda.