It’s tough being the youngest in a household of six. Sure I was the baby of the family, but it wasn’t always easy getting my voice heard.
I remember one time in particular when I ran home from school with a great story to tell the rest of my siblings. I guess I wasn’t being as direct as one of my brothers wanted me to be (who could blame me… I was seven years old), so he interrupted me with an irritated sigh and said, “So what’s your point?”
What’s my point? You didn’t even let me get to the punch line at the end! But looking back, I can see that my brother was just preparing me for communicating with the masses in this age of instant information.
According to statistic brain, the average person’s attention span is eight seconds (thanks to the internet). That’s one second less than a goldfish! The data is actually from 2012, so the human attention span could be even lower now.
That’s why in internal and external communications, it’s so important to reveal what matters to your audience within the first few seconds. Get to the point and stop dancing around the issue.
I’m not going to list a number of ways to help you accomplish this because there’s only one rule of thumb: write messages that you want your viewers to read as if they will only read the first two sentences (because chances are they will be).
Don’t forget about the eight-second attention span.
That means in the first sentences of a newsletter or press release, the main point should be already made. That means creating a real e-mail slug line and not using such generic titles like “Update” or, even worse, “Untitled”.
You may not think it’s a big deal; but trust me — your colleagues, employees, and/or general public will thank you for saving their time!