Answering audience questions is my favorite part of public speaking because, more often than not, the questions teach me something. Last Tuesday evening, I experienced such a revelation while presenting at the Fairmont Private Schools.
During the presentation, I said, “Online, people have the attention spans of gnats. Keep it short.”
Then, I wrapped-up the presentation with a couple of questions. “What’s the most important skill that an online content creator should develop? “What’s the most important skill that any company considering to be an online publisher should acquire?”
A few people took a stab at the answer before I let them off the hook.
“The ability to tell stories,” I said.
That’s when a woman in the back of the room raised her hand and asked a brilliant question:
“So, can we use storytelling to extend the attention span of the gnat?”
“Yes!” I answered instinctively, having never really thought about it that way before.
Story extends attention span. That’s why we’ll spend $10 to sit willingly in a darkened movie theater with strangers. We enjoy watching characters in conflict. We love our heroes and love to hate our villains. We wait anxiously for them battle out a resolution. We love to be entertained. We love to be taught.
The best online content creators combine the power of storytelling with education to tap into a reservoir of dormant attention.
Extend attention spans. Be a storyteller.
Photo Credit: Macten