Remember Short Attention Span Theater? The banter-filled show was Jon Stewart’s first on-air gig, and it ran from 1989-1994. More than anything else, the show’s fast-moving clips suggested that even 20 years ago attentive audiences were already a thing of the past.

According to a new study from Microsoft Corp., people now generally lose concentration after 8 seconds. Even the most skittish of goldfish have 9-second attention spans. That’s right. These days goldfish pay more attention than people do.

What does this mean for your meetings and events? For one thing, you had better begin with the end in mind and really think through what your audience wants. For another, you need to think way outside the fishbowl in order to capture their fleeting attention – the same old same old hotel ballroom and conference environments might not do the trick.

So how do you get your audience emotionally, personally, and intellectually invested in what you are trying to communicate?

1.    Pick an unconventional setting.

Your local performance arts center, your city’s history museum, an art gallery, warehouses and converted spaces, nightclub rooms for daytime events, rural settings for glam tented events.

2.    Choose the right visual and audio stimuli.

Sharp, short video segments heavy on images and light on text. (Have a promo video? Keep it to a minute.) Presentations that move at a quick clip, TED Talk style. Interactive tools for audience engagement. Lighting that surprises as it sets the scene.

Create an intentional event design from the ground up. Ditch cookie cutter plans in favor of captivating, integrated audio and video experiences that attendees will long remember.

The right audio visual production partner is key to entertaining, engaging, and educating attendees in today’s Short Attention Span Theater. Promise your guests that you’ll use their time wisely, and then make sure you deliver a one-of-a-kind experience.


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