Prospect Concentration Span As Short As Facebook Employees

🔖 2 min read (or is it 3?)

I learn Facebook recently wanted their staff concentration levels better matched to task attentions required.

They employed psychologists to observe how their current workforce navigate their day.

I did wonder on echoes of the (in)famous Hawthorne experiments. An Aussie professor called Elton Mayo kept changing conditions in a 1920s Western Electric plant in Chicago. Altering lighting, heating, resting. Yet the performance kept improving. It turned out that even when tired in freezing darkness, the mere knowledge of being studied made people work more.

Still, one fairly straightforward finding was that 3-hr webinars as a method of information dissemination were out. Better to provide two minute video morsels. Provided these nuggets didn’t come from “an old guy in a suit”. Was it ever thus…

In part this led to an in-house bus service to ferry staff to and from work. Fully kitted out with the latest connectivity. Allowing them to get in the groove for work before arrival, and finish off the day on the commute home.

This highlights that crafting a selling message with recipient attention span in mind is crucial.

14 minutes is apparently a typical ability to stick on something. (The average Brit’s attention span last for 10 minutes in finance meetings, being a subhead that we can surely all relate to).

How does this map onto prospects reading one of our incredibly well written emails?

Sending video messages is yet to catch on. Even if those more recently entering the workplace may regularly send voicenotes, they are no replacement for voicemail. Old stagers will wail at how prospects rarely read your lovingly crafted detailed ten-page pdf. I’m not so sure about that. They do tend read matter relevant to their urgently required pain removal.

One helpful tactic I like comes from web journalism. Many sites relying on eyeballs which wish to associate themselves with higher calibre writing place between heading and prose something akin to; “4 minute read”.

Here’s how one such publishing platform explains this.

Could it (and their way of calculating the time) be a useful addition to your selling messages sent?

Whilst this may encourage prioritisation of your prospect, it isn’t likely to get someone that never sits still on something for longer than four minutes to digest in depth your essential reading thirty-page paper.

So back to the medium. If 550-words (taking into account any image impact) truly do constitute a two minute read, then how can you max your message to this limit? Could you even treat it almost like the old school report-writer opener of the Executive Summary? Then have each main point linkable to its own specific further (deeper, explanatory) item, also two minutes in duration?

You could even have this conversation with prospect personalities, either from the outset or case by case. Let them set the parameters. How do they prefer to receive info? To offer them the 2-min chunking could well give you the edge.

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