Senior Leaders have Short Attention Spans

By Scot Herrick | Job Performance

Mar 01

Earlier in February, Genuine Curiosity posted this good article on PowerPoint as a focusing tool. The essential point of the writing is that you can have “death by PowerPoint” or you can use PowerPoint to really focus your message into as few words as needed.

Valid points and I saved the article to review in my RSS reader.

Going back over it as I write this, I was struck by two lines that I think are spot on:

“if I’m dealing with a senior audience with short attention spans.”

“I’ve often heard that the more senior the audience, the more value there is in small numbers and primary colors. PowerPoint is a great tool to help focus your message to a simpler level.”

In your experience in dealing with Senior Leaders, have you found that they have short attention spans and need things explained as simply as possible?

  • Scot Herrick says:

    Hi Mary Emma,

    I should note senior LEADERS, not just seniors! I’ve had senior leaders at age 35 who had very short attention spans (way before the Internet…) and those at 70 who had great patience.

    One of the great pieces of advice I’ve ever received from a senior leader is to provide your “summary statement” or conclusion first, then fill in with details to support the summary statement.

    This way the person knows where you are going and it makes it easier to follow your thinking as you reached this conclusion.

    I love your blog, too!

  • Mary Emma says:

    There are seniors and there are seniors…of various ages and mindsets. My mother was a senior who developed Alzheimer’s…of course, her attention span was short and eventually non-existent.
    My husband and I are seniors and business owners. I hope our attention spans aren’t getting shorter. However, that may be a matter of opinion! My dad was a senior and business planner whose mind was active until his final illness at age 92.

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