Q&A: Can you grab 100% of a listener’s attention?

In a recent webinar, Tim P. asked, “Surely if your content is compelling enough you CAN grab 100% of your listener’s attention?”

Tim, I LOVE the question.

Here’s my experience… some will no matter what you do, and some won’t…no matter what you do.

I recently got an email from an instructional designer from a major university in the U.S. who said, “Wow!  I couldn’t attend the live event so I just watched the recording..and you kept my attention all the way through!  That’s hard to do!”

As much as I’d like to pat my own back (I won’t – it’d give me arm cramps), the reality is that audiences are multitasking even in in-person presentations.  Blackberries, iPhones, web connections everywhere…you get the idea.

I think what we should do is assume we have partial attention and plan/design/deliver for it.

CAN it be done?  Yes.

Can it be done every time with every member of your audience?

Not likely.

Assume partial attention.

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