Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Being Interesting 08 - Ten Minutes

Just a quick piece of advise:

Your listeners are conditioned by television to the point that they really only have an attention span that is, in total, about the length of a TV episode (22 minutes). Along with this, they are used to segments that are about 10 minutes long. This means if you don't do something about once every 10 minutes that jars them back to what you're doing (like a commercial break), they're going to be drifting off.

I was reading recently that the average American adult typically gets distracted at work about once every 2 minutes. What's worse (and I've found this to be true in my case), if they don't get distracted in 2 minutes, they will actually find a way to distract themselves. There were preachers of the past who could use lots of dry logic and long quotations, reasoning for hours and hours to a captivated audience. Those were marvelous times, but they aren't the times where we're living.

It is worth doing something to change directions or pace about once every ten minutes. This is also why I prefer not to make lots of bland introductory comments. I know that the moment I begin to speak, my clock is already ticking. It's better to engage them while they're still listening, rather than to use up their attention spans announcing what they already know about the weather.

1 comment:

  1. One thing I rely enjoy doing is finding a song or two that really drives home the point I am making and ask the song leader to lead it before or after I make the point in the sermon. For example Sunday Night after talking about Peter’s denial of Christ we sang “I’ll be a friend to Jesus”. A preacher I know did this and I really liked it and do it occasionally at Arnold and get good reactions from the members. You are exactly right about jarring the audience back and I like this way because we as humans connect on so many different levels in song. Not only is our song worship but is to be used as a mode of teaching and it seems only natural to include it in a portion of worship dedicated to teaching. I am really enjoying these little tips. Thanks Mark and keep up the good work.