There are two statistics I’ve come across in this past week:
- When talking with someone, you have 7-9 seconds to capture their attention
- When giving a presentation, you have 10 seconds to capture your audience’s attention
So whether you’re talking to one person or a group of people, the conclusion is that you have less than 10 seconds to capture their attention because if you don’t, they’ll start to tune you out.
Wow and ouch, right?
Today, let’s focus on the one-to-one conversation.
In a world where we’re overloaded with information it’s not surprising that we’re living in an ADD society. There’s nothing you can do about that fact, but what you can do is get better at what comes out of your mouth in those first precious 10 seconds.
Most people make the mistake of talking about their business at the onset of a conversation and quite frankly, talking about your business and sharing what you do is almost never going to fully capture someone’s attention. Most people will just give you a courtesy smile and eventually slip away.
It’s not because your business isn’t interesting, I’m sure it is. The reason is very simple. People are first trying to figure out if they like you. Therefore, your first intention is to be likeable.
One way to be likeable is to put the focus on them, not on you.
Here’s a tip on how to put the spotlight on the person you’re talking to without making them feel like they’re in the spotlight: create conversation starters that get them talking about themselves.
One of my personal favorites is asking: “What’s new and exciting?”
People LOVE to share the exciting things in their life! You’re giving them the opportunity to share something they’re passionate about, something they’re genuinely excited about and something that they probably haven’t had the opportunity to share so openly.
Another good conversation starter is: “What do you love most about what you do?” and watch them light up as they share it.
The caveat is that you need to be genuine in what you ask and remain genuine throughout the conversation. When you do, they’ll easily conclude that they like you, and you’ll be off to a good start.
Next week, I’ll share how you can capture your audience’s attention within the first 10 seconds. If you give presentations, demonstrations or have speaking gigs, you’ll definitely want to tune in.
Cheers to your success and happy networking!
P.S. did you know that 9 seconds is the same attention span as a goldfish? Haha! I read that in a book, it’s true!