Shocking though it may sound, our average attention span is down to just 9 seconds. That’s according to Sally Hogshead, author of Fascinate: Your Seven Triggers to Persuasion and Captivation.

Compared to 100 years ago, when it was closer to 20 minutes, it would seem we all have forgotten how to focus.

9 seconds… really?

Generally, people will give you 9 seconds of attention when it comes to facts and figures, but according to Yamini Naidu, author of Power Play, engaging with emotions gives you a much wider window.

How can businesses engage emotions to motivate employees?

  • Business storytelling

According to Naidu, business storytelling is storytelling for a purpose, and for results. The art of business storytelling allows leaders to create a connection with their clients, teams and stakeholders.

“I think spreadsheets and data can help leaders create a context for change. But story power can succeed in engaging the emotions of people we are seeking to influence,” Naidu told L&D Professional.

“Storytelling is a simple, yet powerful way to engage people better. Leaders can use personal and everyday stories to impact people, create a mandate for change and connect with stakeholders to really transform business outcomes.”

  • Encourage breaks

People need breaks, whether it’s a walk to the kitchen to stretch their legs or simply flicking onto a non-work related browser tab for a few minutes. Time-wasting happens when a person poorly judges their work-break ratio.

Encouraging positive feelings about work can also improve employee engagement. Rather than giving staff a single long break, why not encourage staff to take shorter breaks when they need them to encourage productivity on ‘work time’?

  • Create a unique office environment

If boredom is a large factor in short attention spans, then steer your office environment away from the dimly-lit cubicles and uninspiring layouts most people think of as ‘office life’.

Offering interactive meeting spaces and opportunities to engage with your surroundings means staff may be more likely to listen when it comes to a task which requires maximum focus.


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