The average human attention span lasts a whopping eight seconds, a study by the Consumer Insights team of Microsoft found, dropping from 12 seconds in 2000.
Which means, according to a BBC News report, that humans have a shorter attention span than those of goldfish. The average attention span for a goldfish is nine seconds, in case you’re wondering.
Although the report goes on to “bust” the numbers behind attention spans, it supports one aspect of human behavior we can all agree on: Humans are more distracted than ever before. We’re always on, always connected, engaged with social media or digging through our smartphones for the next best thing our minds can consume.
The lack of focus humans tend to keep, paired with the rise of distractions all around us, give talent management professionals a major challenge of keeping their teams engaged and on the right learning track.
Traditional engagement strategies won’t cut it with the modern workforce, but video, as a tool to grow and strengthen the connection between executives and employees, will.
Video can hold the dwindling human attention span, allowing for a stronger connection between the people of an organization, and ultimately, helping to build a winning talent management strategy during a time when people are inundated with distraction, deciding what’s real vs. fake; worthy of their attention vs. not.
“Organizations should explore how they can use technology [like video] to deploy immersive communication campaigns,” HR Technologist author Charles Lee writes. “Employees tend to zone out on PowerPoint presentations because they drag on for too long.”
“No matter how well-designed the presentation or how well-crafted the delivery, our brains relapse into energy-conservation mode and hibernate until the end of the meeting.”
It’s well-beyond time to ditch the slideshows and handouts.
When video is used as a communication strategy to optimize employee engagement, it should always be customized from team to team, and reach each employee on a personal level.
Video has the power to strengthen and develop the connection between executives and employees, according to Peter Lynch, TEDx speaker and former Fortune 500 executive. He says the best videos for engagement are authentic, raw and unpolished; that the “ugly” video keeps attention longer than the refined content. Too many managers make the mistake of polishing off a flawless, well-rehearsed video to reach everyone across the organization, only to fall short of making a real impact.
The winning strategy is authenticity - just an in-the-moment, unscripted and imperfect video communicating relevant information to employees that they need to know as it relates to the work they do.
Want proof? The average time spent watching video on a desktop that’s been pre-recorded is 2.6 minutes. But … get ready for this: live, unscripted video squashes that number with an impressive 34 and-a-half minutes.
When managers communicate authentically to their people, they establish trust, and that’s the key to engaging employees in the communication and especially, their tasks and responsibilities. Trust equals impact, according to Lynch.
“Authenticity is the foundation of trust,” he says, “and trust is driving powerful workplaces that win.”
Here you have it: Use video. Customize it. Don’t overthink it. Be real with who you are and what you’re communicating. And then your people will trust you, and work harder in return.
Join Peter Lynch for his webcast presentation on Oct. 16 at 2 p.m. EDT, “The Conversation Age: The Art of Connection In an Age of Distraction” and learn the following:
- How leadership connection can reduce attrition and increase employee satisfaction
- How to immediately increase employee engagement
- Strategies and tools to create your own leadership distinction
The webcast is free to attend, but you must Register Online to save your spot.