NPR recently did a study of how quickly people lose interest in a video if it takes more than a few seconds to load. “What we found was that people were pretty patient for up to two seconds,” said Ramesh Sitaraman, science professor at the University of Massachusetts.
The research showed that viewers begin to abandon video if it does not start up within two seconds. And, as if that weren’t bad enough, each additional second of delay resulted in a 5.8 percent increase in the abandonment rate. In other words, by 10 seconds, half of the viewers had already bolted.
So, what’s our takeaway from this? You’re not the latest season of “Arrested Development” or the music video someone needs to see from their favorite band. You have about two seconds to convince your audience that the content is going to be there.
Tell them right up front what’s coming and why they should pay attention. Let them know it’s going to be worth sitting tight for 15 minutes. Be incredibly clear and deliberate in your opening, and you will have your audience with you the whole time.
Communications Coach at SmartMouth Communications
SmartMouth Founder and Principal Beth Noymer Levine is a Communications Coach who is emerging as one of the country’s leading voices on how to prepare and deliver speeches and presentations that actually work for both the audience and the speaker.