Attention Span - Humans vs. The Goldfish

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You've probably heard someone being characterised as having "the attention span of a goldfish", meaning that he or she can only focus on something for a very short time. If you search for the actual attention span of a goldfish, you'll even come across a recent study that found that the average human attention span is now less than that of a goldfish (human: 8.25 seconds, goldfish: 9 seconds).

So what does that mean for presentations?

Getting Rid of Bullet Points - a Clarification

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When I'm arguing against the use of bullet points on slides, I often use a little bit of exaggeration to drive home my point. I also spend a lot of time explaining the benefits of visuals and how and why they work.

This sometimes leaves people with the impression that I want them to replace all of their slides with photos. Which, understandably, makes the more technically-minded members of my audience uncomfortable. So maybe I should point out two things:

Can I have some water, please?

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In Stupid Things Presenters do I described the irritating habit of some speakers to pick up a glass or bottle of water but never drinking from it, which can be very distracting for the audience. Most of the time, however, when speakers do reach out for water it's because they need it and intend to drink from it. Assuming, of course, there is water available for them in the first place.

On Breaking The Rules

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The last of a series of mostly mediocre talks at a recent event was about breaking the rules. So the speaker decided to drive home his point and broke some of the rules for presenting. Did it help?

Behind the Mask

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Members of the Anonymous collective are easily recognisable for the Guy Fawkes masks they are wearing in public. Their protest is not silent, though; sometimes, they also deliver speeches. This is probably not part of your usual speaking experience, but have ever you considered the challenges of speaking while wearing a mask?