A study by Microsoft shows that the human attention span has fallen from 12 seconds in 2000, about the time the mobile revolution began, to 8 seconds today. That's less than the 9 second attention span of those cute little goldfish swimming around in your home aquarium.

That leads to the big question in business today. How can you disrupt the status quo and present the right message at the right time in an overwhelmed world? That is, unless you sell to goldfish who have and they have limited access to computers.

There are many great marketing gurus who have the right words and the right images to help you get people's attention. The big question is, once you have their attention how can you influence and persuade that you have something worthwhile to offer?

There are lots of scam artists out there and they will hold your attention short term. That's great if you don't care about repeat business.

Now I want to discuss how you can be found, seen, heard, watched, and read about, and why people will pass your information to others. Its more than likes on Facebook, its more than retweets on Twitter.

It's about authenticity and honesty. It's about reading people's minds to know what they're thinking and yet, not often saying aloud. It's as relevant for boomers as for millennials. It's about the human need for connection. It's about inclusion rather than exclusion.

Most marketing right now is loud, hoping to be heard above the bustling crowd. Marketing is also playing to the extremes. On one side is prejudice, fear and disruption. On the other side is sympathy, heroism and fantasy.

What if you took a stance to stand out by finding that sweet spot of balance between the overly exaggerated left and right? What if you simply spoke about what is really needed, what is really relevant in today's world?

I'm talking about telling the truth without spilling your guts. I'm talking about moderation that has so much honesty people will simply stop to listen.

I'm talking about being a leader in whatever you do and not being swayed by the bright, shiny meaningless objects that are symbols of seduction.

I'm talking about telling the truth. Truth sentences that have impact are short. They're not run on with lots of claims. Remember we are talking about 8 seconds to get your point across.

Personal example:

Girl meets guy. She's attracted. She's also married. Guy is attracted to her. There is a dance of energies until she stands out to get the right attention by saying "Hey, I find you very fascinating. If I weren't married I would be super interested. However, I'm closing that door and appreciate you understanding that."

Whoever really talks like that? Took only 8 seconds.

Business example:

Head of advertising agency did not come through with new client who has lots of clout. He's upset and doesn't want to lose the opportunity. He knows the client is pissed and is pushing to get money back. In less than 8 seconds he says "I'm committed to making things right and have put a plan in place at no charge to produce the stellar results you expect."

No judging, blaming or defending. No attacking. Just telling the truth as cleanly as possible.

I have spent years listening to clients practice truth sentences. Not easy. We have all been trained to protect ourselves and point the finger of blame at others.

The years ahead will be filled with more and more chatter. The maxim that any publicity is better than no publicity, needs to go.

Learn to stand out and get the right attention by practicing to tell the truth in less than 8 seconds. Your future, personally and professionally depend on it.

Be part of the movement for gaining the right attention and not just adding more noise into a world that needs a course correction.

Published on: Dec 29, 2016
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