Here’s some information you probably already knew, but might have forgotten. After ten minutes of a presentation, the majority of an audience (your staff, your docs, your board, your referrers) tune out, or rather, their brains turn off. BusinessWeek’s Carmine Gallo recently wrote about John Medina’s book Brain Rules and the ten-minute rule.
If you want to hold people’s attention, I recommend you introduce some sort of engaging device at or shortly before each 10-minute increment of your presentation. This device doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple story will suffice, as will a review of the past 10 minutes. In my presentations, I often tell a relevant story, or better yet, show a video clip that is relevant to the previous discussion. If you’re presenting via Webinar software (BusinessWeek, 4/18/08), you can use a tool to push a poll or a question to your audience. Again, be sure to plan these exercises at 10-minute intervals. – Carmine Gallo
Some things I’ve used successfully to break up relatively dry information in staff meetings:
- short dance break to wake everyone up ( James Brown’s ‘I Feel Good” is a classic favorite)
- passing out party hats to everyone to announce a special event (can get silly)
- visual interest slides at intervals – optical illusions (the gorilla on the basketball court is a classic but I don’t know if it’s available for groups unless you buy the DVD)
- telling a tasteful joke if you can deliver it well – I personally can’t tell a joke to save my life
- teach desk exercises to stave off stiff necks and sore backs
- show pictures or movies from the last staff event, holiday party, etc.
Read the complete article here and let me know what you do to keep people from tuning you out.