Dad learned speaking from the front of the room. No speaker school for him, just plain old-fashioned verbal and non-verbal feedback.
Twenty years ago a psychologist heard Dad speak and met with him after the program. He commented to Dad that he used a lot of humour and asked him why. Dad’s answer was he used the humour to regain everyone’s attention. Hearing laughter around you makes you want to know what was said. The psychologist then told Dad that he told a joke about every seven minutes and wanted to know if it was purposely timed that way. Dad said no, he was just responding to the room.
The psychologist then said Dad was telling a joke every seven minutes because that was the length of the average attention span. He then told Dad that the average attention span was seven minutes because that was how much time there was between commercials on TV!
Dad’s communication skill is off-the-charts-effective because he intuitively knows how people want and need to be communicated with.
Succession planning in companies today is all the buzz. Frustration is rampant because the Old Guard (those in control of the business usually 55 years old and up) and the young workers (under 35 years old) can’t seem to communicate. Knowing the future of your success depends on growing young workers into business leaders means everything depends on being able to communicate with them.
Take a lesson from Dad. People choose their leaders, leaders don’t choose their followers. Dad realised he had to keep the crowd engaged and it didn’t really matter if he liked or disliked how he had to do it. He adapted because his passion was to make a difference in their lives.
Young workers today are more eager than ever to step in and make a difference in their company. The reality is their attention span is no longer seven minutes! Text messaging, e-mail, the Internet, multitasking, multimedia, and on and on, and you can see that young workers need to be communicated to differently.
You have two minutes to make a difference now. How are you going to use it?