Getting to The Point

In today’s fast paced, multi tasked and attention deficit world that we find ourselves in, the question often comes to my mind “ Am I listening enough?” or on the other side of the spectrum “Am I being heard enough?”

Recent statistics have proven that the average attention span for a human being in the workplace has come down from 12 seconds in 2000 to 8 seconds as we know it today – (Attention Span is simply defined as the amount of concentrated time on a task without being distracted).

Most educators and researchers are in total agreement that to achieve ones goals, being able to focus ones attention on the task at hand is crucial. In today’s environment the external stimuli has increased over the years and this has resulted in a corresponding decrease in attention span.

When you want your message to be heard or you want to listen to something, getting to the point in the quickest way possible is the best solution.

The hard reality surrounds all of us every day:

Power Point presentations that lack power and have no point; management meetings that feel more like lectures and less like leadership; and executive briefings that are rarely brief and to the point.

In the book “Brief: Make a Bigger Impact by Saying Less” author Joe McCormack outlines why professionals struggle with brevity and outlines how we can overcome challenges and embrace a “less is more” mentality.

The challenge goes far beyond knowing the importance of brevity; it also requires the discipline of doing something about it in your own way.

Here are three things Joe suggests you can do to make an immediate, noticeable difference and make a bigger impact.

  • Take more time to prepare. It takes a concerted effort in advance to be brief. Write down your main point and three key ideas before you walk into your next meeting or jump onto the next conference call.
  • Respect other people’s time. Remember that other people’s time is as valuable as your own. When you sense you’re getting on a roll, it’s time to wrap it up.
  • Empathize with their lack of focus. Understand that the people you communicate with are buried and can’t handle another inessential detail. Trim excess information wherever possible.

This is just a start, being aware of your own attention span and working consciously on improving it every single day will get you started on the road to success. Now though, is the right time to get back to work.

Uday Nayak is a Training Manager for Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide. He is currently responsible for training and development at Sheraton in Dubai Mall of Emirates.

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