Apr 19, 2012

3 Words You Will Hear More Often


There are 3 words you will be hearing more often. 
"It's too long."

That video...it's too long.
That lesson...it's too long.
That announcement...it's too long.
That brochure...it's too long.
That email...it's too long.
That advertisement...it's too long.

With media overload continuing to amp up, the ability to grab people's attention and hold it is an increasing challenge.  The attention span may be an endangered species in the lightning-fast, multimedia society we’ve become.

New research finds that the average political sound bite—defined as any footage of a candidate speaking uninterrupted—has dropped to just eight seconds. (About the time it took to you read that last sentence.) To give that information some context, consider that, during the 1968 presidential election, the average sound bite was a full 43 seconds. And as recently as the 1990s, CBS said it wouldn’t broadcast any sound bite under 30 seconds in an effort to better promote informed, complex discourse. Two decades later, candidates get out about a third of that before cutting them off.

According to the Pediatrics medical journal, increased exposure to television and video games causes noticeable decreases in attention spans in children.  One study says the average attention span of university students is 10 minutes.

What does this mean for Children's Ministry?

Say it short.   Complexity is your enemy.  If you want kids (and adults) to remember something long term, then make it a simple statement.  Great communicators know how to take complex truths and teach them in simple statements.

The fewer the words...the bigger the impact.  Here's an example.  Finish this sentence.  The Few...the Proud...the ____________.   The reason you were able to finish the sentence is because it is in your long term memory.  It is in your long term memory because it's 6 words.  If it were 60 words, you probably wouldn't remember it.

Teach it short.  Honor children's attention spans when you are teaching.  1 minute for every year.  In other words, you can teach a 5 year old for 5 minutes.   

Show it short.  Keep your training and teaching videos at 2-3 minutes max.

Communicate it short.  Use short methods of communication with parents and volunteers.  Consider using text or twitter.  An example is using text to send parents weekly discussion questions. You can read more about this here.

Remember this if you have a Children's Ministry brochure as well.  That long, wordy brochure you created...no one is reading it.  Cut out most of the words and use pictures and simple, short statements.

Better go...this post...it's too long!    

3 comments:

This is so true! Thanks for the reminder.

Can really identify with this! The age and concentration span in minutes is a handy tool - thanks!

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