Attention & Retention Made Simple

I have two simple tips for you that are not brain surgery, but they do come from a doctor whose research focuses on the brain.

For my upcoming book, I have been digging into attention spans – how they work and how long they last. After all, if we’re talking to people, we want to make sure we’re grabbing and holding onto their attention. One of the more interesting books I took a look at was “Brain Rules” by Dr. John Medina. Medina distills his research down to 12 “brain rules” and two of them caught my eye.

The first was that people don’t pay attention to boring things. We pay attention to things like emotions and threats. Hmmm, that’s probably why storytelling is so effective and also why being able to identify your audience’s “pain” works well to grab their attention!

The second was that people need repetition to remember. People need to be exposed and re-exposed to material you want them to retain. This is not at all surprising to those of us who can remember almost every advertising jingle from our childhood!

So, you see? These tips are not brain surgery. You know both of these little fun facts. But the question for you to ask yourself is, do you consider these facts when you speak and present? Do you check yourself for how boring/interesting your material is and ask yourself what you can do and how you can package it, to make it more compelling? Do you build in some repetition of the important tidbits you need your audience to remember?

I’ll leave the rest to you, but I just wanted to share some fun summertime food for thought!