Brain Rule #4 – Attention – We don’t pay attention to boring things — John Medina, Brain Rules, 2008
Growing up as a preacher’s kid I was always concerned with the length of Dad’s sermons. In fact, I would often sit in the back of the church (as a good Lutheran we sat in “our seats” every Sunday). I would hold up 10 fingers as a signal – a not always appreciated reminder to Dad – that he was at the 10 minute mark.
As an observant youngster I noticed it was around 10 minutes that people listening to the sermon would start to drift off, they would shift their attention from the message to other things. Next time you are forced to sit and listen for a period of time pay attention to others. It is around 10 minutes that people start looking out the window, appreciating the art, or reading the bulletin. It’s at that 10 minute mark that you notice your own mismatched socks or the lady with the funny hat three rows ahead of you.
We don’t pay attention to boring things and we can only hold attention for a fixed period of time. Yes, tapping into emotion grabs attention back, but that can be a challenge (especially if we have been sitting for a longer period of time – go back to exercise post.)
In summary – don’t be boring! Don’t make people listen to you for more than 10 minutes. PowerPoint presentations aren’t emotional (more to come on this later) . . . use emotion, get people moving, and keep it short.
Don’t be boring!